Conference and Professional Development Grant Recipient: Toni Rose Jue

30 January 2020
TR portratit 2019

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your research? 

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Prince of Wales Clinical School under the supervision of Prof Jeff Holst. I have worked on projects focused on targeted therapeutics for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). GBM is a malignant brain cancer that has a very poor prognosis in adults and children. Unlike other cancers, the survival of patients with GBM has not improved in the last 15 years. It’s tumour microenvironment is known to have an immune suppressive property. My interest is to understand the immune characteristics within the tumour microenvironment to be able to identify therapeutic strategies that can help improve survival in patients diagnosed with this deadly disease.

Could you tell us about the conference you went to and why you chose to attend this conference? (What is unique, unusual or particularly important about it?)

I attended the BD Bioscience Specialised Data Acquisition Training Course for Multicolour Flow Cytometry Application. The training course was tailored so that users of the  BD LSRFortessa™ cell analyser can take full advantage of the machine’s capabilities. The BD LSRFortessa™ cell analyser is an advanced machine capable of detecting 18 colours simultaneously that is perfect for characterising the different immune cell populations within a tumour microenvironment. The training course was very useful and helpful in a way that it had hands-on and theoretical training led by professional instructors with extensive knowledge and experience in flow cytometry.

What would be the most important outcomes of the conference for you – key learnings, or people you met, new collaboration, etc.

The workshop has provided me the avenue to improve my knowledge in multi-colour data acquisition and analysis for flow cytometry. This has given me the confidence to analyse the results of my experiments to further understand the effects of immune therapy in GBM patients

Were there any new knowledge or strategies from the conference you found interesting and possibly an interest of other TCRN members?

It’s not new but I would say that the workshop is a very good resource for researchers who are seeking to have a deeper understanding of the capabilities of the BD Bioscience cell analysers.

How can your research translate into improvements in patient care and clinical outcomes (Translational relevance)?

Targeting the immune system as a therapeutic strategy has shown great results in other cancers, such as melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer. This has gathered much interest in the neuro-oncology field, however recent clinical trials have not shown favourable outcomes in patients diagnosed with GBM. My research aims to understand and provide fundamental knowledge on how immune cell populations act and respond to treatment within the  GBM tumour microenvironment. With this knowledge, I can change how future clinical trials are designed which in turn can hopefully produce positive results.

Could you tell us about your membership with the TCRN – what’s your involvement, how long have you been a member etc.?

I have been involved with the TCRN since 2014, when I was still a PhD student at UNSW.  I have been a recipient of TCRN’s generosity through a number of conference and professional development grants which has allowed me to share my work overseas, as well as widen my skills and knowledgebase to improve my research. I also enjoy attending the Randwick Precinct Cancer Roundtable discussions which has enabled me to foster collaborations with other researchers in the field of neuro-oncology.

You received funding to attend the conference – could you tell us about the difficulties of obtaining funding for these sorts of activities and how the TCRN fills a need?

As an early career researcher, getting funding to attend workshops to enhance our skills is a challenging task. The opportunities for these kind of funding schemes are limited, and the opportunity that TCRN gives by providing conference and professional development grants is invaluable.

Grant Snapshot

Conference: Training Course for Multicolor Flow Cytometry Application
Location: Sydney, NSW
Funding Round: Round 1, 2019 Professional Development Grant