Dr. Catherine Brun, PhD.

DSC_2779Catherine completed her PhD in molecular biology in Zurich, Switzerland. She arrived in Toronto two years ago to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Durocher at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is working with human cells and yeasts to understand how DNA damage is recognized and repaired by the cells.  When cells are exposed to DNA damage agents (such as UV), they may cause errors in the DNA, which are hallmarks of cancer cells. She strongly believes that understanding the underlying mechanisms of DNA repair will help us to improve and develop new cancer therapies.

She decided to work with RIOT to inform patients, families and friends about the importance of the work that researchers are doing to improve our healthcare. She hopes that understanding the fantastic advances we go through in medicine will give hope to people who need it.

Zeynep Kahramanoglu, H.BSc.

Zeynep2014Zeynep obtained an Honours Bachelor of Science, majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics and minoring in French from the University of Guelph in 2014. In her final year thesis, her research was focused on understanding how bone cancer spreads through the body and responds to current treatments, such as chemotherapy. Hoping to learn more about laboratory research as a career, she is currently working as a Research Technical Assistant at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Her work focuses on identifying and understanding new “cancer causing” genes, striving to further understand what promotes cancer development. Zeynep has been volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society at various events since 2008 and is a new member of RIOT. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge, curiosity and passion of research with the community. Ultimately, she aspires to pursue graduate studies in research. In her spare time, Zeynep enjoys traveling, cooking, and outside the harsh Canadian winter, windsurfing.

Dr. Sue Li, PhD.

Sue Li RIOT photoSue Li completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto in Human Biology in 2006 before completing her PhD at the University of Toronto in 2013. During her PhD, she developed an animal model for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, which helped to uncover information related to the biology of this cancer type. Sue is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, where her research focuses on discovering and developing new drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer. She is particularly interested in finding weaknesses in prostate cancer cells and exploiting these to selectively destroy the cancer cells. Sue also helps initiate and coordinate clinical studies to identify predictors of drug response, which can inform future patient care.

Sue joined the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) in 2012 because her PhD work was funded by the Society, and she wanted to give back to the community. Besides working alongside RIOT members, Sue is a Society outreach volunteer, who goes out to the community to speak about cancer prevention as well as advocate for policy change. In her spare time Sue enjoys baking, entertaining and going to BodyPump at Goodlife Fitness.