Dr Lauren Thurgood

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20072024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Biography

Dr Lauren Thurgood completed her PhD in the Department of Surgery, Flinders University in 2011. Her work focused on cell culture systems and proteomic characterization of kidney stones.

Dr Thurgood undertook a postdoctoral position in the Immunology Directorate, SA Pathology, where she developed novel proteomic techniques to characterise autoantibodies from patients with autoimmune conditions. In April 2013 she accepted a position in the Haematology Department, Flinders University that allowed her to utilize her strong skills in proteomics in combination with her interest in B-cell biology.

Within 6-months of commencing this position, she was awarded a grant from Flinders Foundation to carry out proteomic analysis of the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) microenvironment. Since then, she has been awarded a further three grants from Flinders Foundation and was the recipient of the Joan Tallis Leukaemia and Lymphoma Fellowship.

In 2018, she was awarded a Beat Cancer Early Career Research Fellow (ECR), funded through Cancer Council SA. Her project focused on nutrient uptake in leukaemia and investigated whether altering the ability of cells to utilise nutrients could offer new therapeutic options for these patients.

Since then, she has continued her work in the area of metabolism in mature B-cell malignancies with a strong focus on CLL. Her current projects are carried out with collaborators at the University of Queensland and University of South Australia and focus on the role of neoantigens in CLL and the development of novel imaging tools and therapeutics that exploit the lipid dependencies of CLL cells.

Working closely with clinicians at Flinders Medical Centre, her work has strong translation focus and ultimately aims to improve survival outcomes in patients with CLL.

Research Interests

1. Metabolic adaptations of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) lymphocytes

Nutrients can be categorised into three main categories, proteins (amino acids), carbohydrates (glucose) and fats (lipids). Cancer cells generally increase their uptake of glucose in order to sustain rapid cell proliferation. My work has found that CLL cells prefer to utilise fats/lipids, an observation also noted in some prostate cancer, pancreatic cancers and lymphomas. This project aims to understand this metabolic switch in more detail and whether we can target this switch with novel therapies. This project is funded through close ties with Flinders Foundation.

2. Mechanisms of ibrutinib response and resistance

Ibrutinib is a commonly administered therapy for CLL. This project aims to understand what changes occur to the protein expression in these cells following treatment and what changes occur when patients become resistant to this drug, which is am emerging medical problem. This work is funded by Flinders Foundation.

3. Identification of novel biomarkers and drug targets in multiple myeloma (MM)

Dr Thurgood, in collaboration with Dr Giles Best is now investigating novel therapies and biomarkers in MM using a proteomic based approach. This work has numerous funding sources.

Dr Thurgood also has an interest in projects involving proteomic characterisation of the CLL tumour microenvironment and in the role of sphingolipids in CLL chemoresistance (Dr Marten Snel, SAHMRI)




Supervision

  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Medical biosciences

Supervisory Interests

  • Proteomics
  • Cell biology
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Metabolism
  • Lipids
  • Cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma & multiple myeloma

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