Meet the female scientists at the forefront of pioneering cancer research

Meet the female scientists at the forefront of pioneering cancer research

27 November 2023

Meet the female scientists at the forefront of pioneering cancer research
Female scientists at Hammersmith Hospital are driving forward vital research into life-threatening ovarian cancer – thanks to our pioneering women’s health partnership with The Parasol Foundation.

We’ve awarded funding to help two young female researchers take the important next steps in their career while striving for breakthroughs in the fight against this deadly disease.

Dr Selina Chiu and Dr Shriya Varghese will work alongside other leading scientists as part of the Parasol Foundation Centre for Women’s Health and Cancer Research – a partnership between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial Health Charity and The Parasol Foundation.

Their efforts will help us learn more about ovarian cancer, how it responds to treatment and what we can do to improve outcomes for patients.

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Ovarian cancer can be hard to detect and many patients are diagnosed after the cancer has spread. When this happens, women may need to have surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible.

Selina’s research will involve using a special imaging tool to help doctors predict how well a patient will respond to surgery. In the future, this could make it easier for them to offer more personalised treatments.

“The fellowship is an incredible opportunity for women in science and medicine,” said Selina. “It’s pushing the boundaries of our understanding within women’s health. I’m extremely grateful to The Parasol Foundation. I hope the findings from my research will be of great benefit to patients in the future.”
 

“The fellowship is an incredible opportunity for women in science and medicine. It's pushing the boundaries of our understanding within women's health.”

Dr Selina Chiu, Parasol Foundation Research Fellow


In the laboratory, Shriya will run experiments using 3D models to find out how tumour cells might respond to different drugs. Her research could help doctors make better decisions about the best ways to treat women who have ovarian cancer.

“The way ovarian cancer behaves, adapts and responds in each individual patient is different,” said Shriya. “So our team here at Imperial is focused on better understanding this diversity by creating 3D models of ovarian cancer we can use in the lab.

“Our patients are at the centre of our research and we’re doing everything we can to improve outcomes for them.”

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As one of the country’s leading cancer centres, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London have the specialist expertise to drive forward pioneering ovarian cancer research.

Generous support from The Parasol Foundation has made it possible for us to fund Selina and Shriya’s research alongside several other women’s health projects at Hammersmith Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital.

The Parasol Foundation Centre for Women’s Health and Cancer Research is generously supported by Ms Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation. The Foundation has a strong commitment to improving women’s health and creating opportunities for women to pursue successful careers in research and STEM fields. You can find out more about the project here.