Alice West


PhD student

Area of study:

Gastric Cancer

Year of enrolment:

Third Year

Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

I was particularly drawn to Hudson Institute as an inclusive, forward-thinking, and innovative research institute and I absolutely love the collegial and supportive work environment that the Institute has fostered. In particular, I was drawn to my laboratory group’s specific area of research and investigation into cytokine and immune signalling within the context of various cancers, as I have previous research knowledge in this area, and wanted to continue to grow my understanding in this field. I think that the diverse range of research that Hudson Institute undertakes allows amazing researchers to collaborate and expand their skills which only adds to how special the work environment is at Hudson Institute.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

My research is looking into the role of a specific protein in the inflammasome, ASC, in the development of gastric cancer. The innate immune system and the inflammasome, which helps coordinate the host defence mechanism, play an integral role in gastric tumourigenesis, yet the role of one of the most crucial proteins, ASC, is not well understood. Our laboratory recently published that ASC is involved in gastric tumourigenesis, yet I want to further unravel that further by trying to locate what cell type ASC localises to, and whether there are other interacting partners involved in gastric tumourigenesis. In my project, I would like to find out the answers to my project topic, and a few others along the way as well, to help piece together the complex picture that is gastric tumourigenesis.

What is it like being a student at Hudson Institute?

I have found that Hudson Institute thoroughly supports their students throughout their studies; whether that be through improving networking skills, inviting them to apply for various available awards through to public speaking opportunities and giving us what we need to succeed at our studies. I’ve been able to join Hudson Institute Student Society (HISS) as a Centre Representative for two years, where I was able to meet students outside of my centre, and really contribute to the student life at Hudson Institute through organising events and getting to know those around me. I’ve also been able to be a part of various mentoring opportunities. Hudson Institute runs mentoring programs between junior and senior PhD students, as well as post-doctorates and students, which have allowed me to grow and really find my feet and help me find a direction for both my PhD studies, and what lies ahead afterwards. I’ve also had the opportunity to be a part of an Industry Mentoring Network.

How will your research help others?

Gastric cancer is a terrible disease that has the fifth highest mortality of all cancers worldwide. By investigating how inflammation through the ASC inflammasome contributes to that earlier stage tumourigenesis and eventual progression of disease, we hope to find potential candidates for therapeutics and/or diagnostics. By putting these pieces of the puzzle together, I do hope that my research will help contribute to the wider body of knowledge of gastric cancer, and someone will be able to put this piece of the puzzle together to create a broader picture that will hopefully generate a successful therapeutic or diagnostic candidate.