About Vanessa

Well hey there. I’m version 1.0 of the Sung sister duo. I’ve recently completed my PhD in Biochemistry at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Morag Park.

I am now working as a policy analyst in the Office of the Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer

Research Activities

My PhD thesis focuses on a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Currently, there are few options outside of chemotherapy for patients with TNBC and only ~30% of them will respond to therapy. The main challenge is that the cellular mechanisms that promote these types of breast cancers are still poorly understood. I have been trying to understand why specific individual cells within TNBC tumours are more aggressive and drug-resistant than others, and whether we can target these cells as a therapeutic strategy.

But even before starting my PhD, I’ve been studying various forms of cancer from different angles. Here are links to my publications –

A panel of antibodies to determine site of origin and malignancy in smooth muscle tumors: Link

Lipid nanoparticle siRNA systems for silencing the androgen receptor in human prostate cancer in vivo: Link

Kibra (WWC1) is a metastasis suppressor gene affected by chromosome 5q loss in human triple negative breast cancers: Link

MET and FGFR1 signalling cooperate to promote tumorigenesis through maintenance of mesenchymal pathways and are potential therapeutic co-targets in a subset of triple negative breast cancer: manuscript in prep

Science Policy

In 2015 I joined Science & Policy Exchange (SPE), a student-run science policy organization based in Montreal. SPE works to promote the student voice in science policy, and to bring together experts from academia, industry, and government to engage students and the public on issues at the interface of science and policy.

In 2016 I was elected VP External Relations, and in 2017 became Co-President of the organization. I now serve as an Internal Director.

Learn more about SPE here.

In the media

On advocating for women in STEM for Sister STEM: Link
On self-advocacy for Science Magazine: Link
On gender barriers in STEM for Science & Policy Exchange: Link

On science communication for the McGill Reporter: Link
On taking student advice in science policy for The Hill Times: Link
Open letter to the Prime Minister on funding for fundamental science: Link

On science policy for Superwomen in Science podcast: Link
On science advocacy for Addgene blog: Link
On breast cancer research for Labfundr blog: Link

Goodman Cancer Research Centre

Canadian Science Policy Conference 2017

Science & Policy Exchange

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