PhD Scholarship Top-up student profile: Penelope Dalla

TCRN PhD Scholarship Top-up Recipient: Penelope Dalla TCRN PhD Scholarship Top-up Recipient: Penelope Dalla

Sub-cellular localisation and trafficking of exogenous P-glycoprotein following microparticle binding

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

Supervisor:  A/Prof Mary Bebawy, Academic Officer (Research and Innovation), Graduate School of Health, School of Pharmacy, UTS.

Microparticles are small vesicles that release from the surface of cells, and those forming from mulitdrug resistant (MDR) cells have been shown to contain an essential MDR effector, “P-glycoproetin”. These microparticles selectively bind to drug sensitive cancer cells and transfer their MDR elements. These MDR elements then become functional within the recipient cell. My investigation aims to characterise the paths for binding, uptake and intracellular movement of microparticles and their cargo to understand how the transfer and processing of drug resistance is incorporated into the recipient cell, and then lead to identifying  potential targets to block these processes.


What is the translational application of your research?

Multidrug resistance in cancer is a complex disease which results in the failure of a patient's response to traditional chemotherapy treatments. By understanding the molecular mechanisms of the transfer and uptake of the multidrug resistive elements transferred by microparticles comprehensively, we can better identify the key areas to target in order to prevent the spread of multidrug resistance in cancer, and to clinically improve treatments for patients.


"The TCRN will aid my professional development with opportunities for networking and communicating with researchers and clinicians. In attending TCRN development workshops and presentations, I believe I will improve the quality and implementation of my research."

This PhD research has been presented at the following conferences:

  • European Cytoskeletal Forum, Fribourg, Switzerland, 2013
  • International Society of Extracellular Vesicles, Boston, USA 2013
  • Sydney Imaging Group Symposium, Sydney, 2013
  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Membrane transporters and their Role in Human Disease, Sydney, 2012

This research has been published in the following paper:

  • Breast Cancer-Derived Microparticles Display Tissue Selectivity in Transfer of Resistance Proteins to Cells. Jaiswal R., Luk F., Dalla P.V., Grau G.E.R. and Bebawy M. PLoS ONE 8(4) e61515 (2013)

Penelope Dalla commenced her second year of PhD studies at the Graduate School of Health, School of Pharmacy, UTS in 2014.