PhD Scholarship Top-up student profile: Nicholas Bentley

TCRN PhD Scholarship Top-up Recipient: Nicholas Bentley TCRN PhD Scholarship Top-up Recipient: Nicholas Bentley

Investigating the metabolic effects of enhancing mitochondrial sirtuin activity in obesity and cancer 

Award: Nicholas is the recipient of a one year PhD Scholarship Top-up

Supervisors:  Dr Patsie Polly, Senior Lecturer in Pathology, Cancer Cachexia Mechanisms Research Group, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW

Nigel Turner, Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Head Mitochondrial Bioenergetics Lab, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW

It is well known that cancer cells have a very different metabolism to normal cells and these alterations in metabolic pathways, which are often worse under conditions of obesity, potentially provide new therapeutic options for treating cancer. This project will investigate if increasing the activity of specific enzymes within the powerhouses of the cell, the mitochondria, can prevent the metabolic defects that occur when animals are placed on a diet rich in fat and also reduce the growth of tumours, using a liver cancer model.

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What is the translational application of your research?

Through understanding the mechanisms behind the role Sirtuins have in cancer, our research will provide an understanding in to possible new avenues into therapeutic remedies which could prolong patients life, and significantly enhance their quality of life.

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"Through the necessary resources and support, the TCRN will provide the means to establish potentially new and novel interventions into the treatment of cancer, and be at the forefront of understanding how mitochondrial function is imparted in cancer, how restoration of mitochondrial function could potentially alleviate many metabolic defects seen in both obesity and cancer.

Nicholas commenced his first year of PhD studies at the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia in 2014.