Currently seeking 
new graduate students!

the shepherd lab

“Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, 
but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, 
because they lead little by little to the truth.”
                    - Jules Verne, 
                      Journey to the Center of the Earth

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.