the shepherd lab

“The occasional success, to the striver, 
  is worth EVERYTHING.”
                    - Mary Oliver

our research

Spheroids as an in vitro model for tumour dormancy: One of our initial discoveries in the spheroid culture model of ovarian cancer metastasis was that cells reduced AKT kinase activity and adopted a quiescent state. This explains how spheroids can remain largely resistant to standard cytotoxic chemotherapeutics. This process is rapidly reversible since ovarian cancer spheroids undergo a “dormant-to-proliferative switch” when they re-attach to grow and migrate. Extending from this work, we have now uncovered additional characteristics of ovarian tumour dormancy in spheroids, including autophagy, stress metabolic signalling, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. These represent some of the major projects currently being investigated in the lab.