Ask a Scientist During #PYB2016



This year Protect Your Breasts is lucky enough to have a scientist onboard who has spent years researching to develop new tests which will detect cancers before tumors have developed. I’ve spoken to this lady for a long time and I am blown away that she has volunteered to do TWO Q&A sessions during the PYB Annual event on Sunday the 25th of September 2016.


I’ll let her tell you a little about herself and the kind of questions she will be able to answer during her Q&A slots which are between 1pm and 3pm GMT and 9pm and 11pm GMT.




My friends call me Mel! I am a graduate student at university. I have 2 Bachelor degrees in Science. One is in biology and the other is in biochemistry. I have a Master’s in Arts in science education. I am currently working on a second Master’s focusing on bioanalytical chemistry and will enter the chemistry PhD program after attaining this degree. I have a research background in genetics, cancer drug delivery systems, and currently working in cancer detection. I work primarily with breast cancer, more aggressive strains that spread rapidly. My current project is developing a more sensitive test that detects the means of cancer spreading before a tumor is detected. I also utilize 3D printing technologies to engineer portions of my test.It is my hope that the breast cancer cells can be detected before a growth is even present. The sooner the diagnosis, the sooner further tests can be run to determine more effective and appropriate treatments to eradicate the cancer.

More of my research details…I work in nanomaterials (very small materials used to transport meds as well as detect cells). My project focuses on modifying these tiny materials to seek out and find cancer cells as well as the means of how cancer spreads. I am currently generating a new test that will (hopefully) allow doctors to test in their office and have results in about 1-2 hours. I am in early stages, but initial tests show promise. I collaborate with other members of my lab in their projects and they on mine. My lab feels much like a second family. We work together to ensure success of our individual projects…all focused on breast cancer and detection. There is a lot of overlap. Our other projects are progressing well in detecting a single cancer cell in appx. 3-5 ml of blood (a finger prick). We are working to make noninvasive tests that also allow further tests on the individual cancer cell giving added insight as to the origin of the person’s cancer cell.

Why do I support PYB? Being a scientist, I understand the nature of cancer and the damage it can cause. It is consistently rising among our populations. Cancer is a scary word. Pre-cancer is a scary word. Education and understanding what cancer is, is essential in order to make life choices, informed decisions, institute preventative measures, and quell panic. Self examinations, understanding your body, having the correct info about cancer, and taking measures to protect yourself are the best ways in ensuring your risk decreases. Cancer is scary…but it is less scary when you know what it is and how you can reduce your risk of being affected by it.

I am happy and excited to share what I do in answering questions to help others protect their breasts and maintain healthy bodies!

Topics for the Q&A! What can I answer?

Risk factors for cancer

Cancer prevention

How cancer develops

What is cancer

What is pre-cancer

Medical terms for clarification

Why people get cancer

Causes of cancer

Cancer detection

New technologies/vaccines/treatments/research

Controversial decisions (preemptively removing breast tissue)

Treatments of cancer

Pseudo science (home remedies are not effective)

Why it takes a long time to get a new test/drug made

Challenges of research

Women in science

How to get involved

Finding reputable resources to learn more

I can’t wait for the Q&A! I am looking forward to helping PYB spread the word in early detection. It’s very close to me as it is what I spend nearly every day researching. ❤





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