Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Val Brunton

Personal Chair of Cancer Therapeutics

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Biography

BSc Hons in Pharmacology, University of Aberdeen. 
After being awarded her PhD in 1990 she moved to the Department of Medical Oncology at the University of Glasgow with Prof Paul Workman and spent three years working on the preclinical development of EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors.  She then moved to the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research as a post-doc with Prof Margaret Frame where she worked on the role of the non-receptor tyrosine kinases Src and FAK in tumour cell progression.  She has been involved in both the preclinical and clinical development of FAK and Src inhibitors, and continues to work on the development of these and other targeted agents since taking up her position as head of the Cancer Therapeutics group at the ECRC in 2008.

Research Interests

Tumour cells metastasise via a series of discrete biological processes that allow cells to disseminate from the primary tumour, move and colonise distant sites within the body. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms whereby tumour cells can metastasise. We are using mouse models of metastatic cancer carrying fluorescent reporters that allow us to follow the metastatic process in real time using whole body imaging, while high resolution intravital microscopy allows us to follow the behaviour of single cells in the tumour micro-environment. This provides a unique way to study these processes and allows us to monitor drug efficacy and mechanism of action of new molecularly targeted agents that are currently in clinical development. We hope that this approach will lead to the development of more effective treatment strategies.

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