Q & A with Dr Janet Lindsey

In the Summer 2015 issue of The Grey Matters, our printed newsletter, we featured an interview with Dr Janet Lindsey, one of the researchers we fund in Professor Steve Clifford's team at Newcastle University. You can read the full interview below.

The team at Newcastle University focus on finding new treatments for medulloblastomas and is part of our INSTINCT programme, which is investigating some of the deadliest childhood brain tumours. Find out more about INSTINCT.

Why did you become a researcher?

I became very interested in genetics and how changes in genes could have such devastating consequences, causing diseases like cancer. I wanted to help deepen our understanding of the processes involved so we can develop new treatments to combat the disease.

What excites you about your job?

There are always new results and techniques that allow us to perform research more efficiently. In the past we would take a long time to look at a single gene in a cancer cell but now we can look at all the genes relatively quickly and find the mutations causing the disease. I feel that we are making real progress.

Can you give us an idea of your typical day?

In the laboratory, I work with DNA from tumours or grow cancer cells so we can study them and look at ways of stopping their development. I also train postgraduate students, discussing the work they've done and teaching them techniques. Most days we either have a team meeting about our results or a seminar from an external speaker on exciting developments in cancer research. I spend a lot of my day on data analysis, looking for differences between cancer cells and normal tissue.

What is the potential impact of your work?

Some types of medulloblastoma brain tumours are very resistant to current treatments and there is an urgent need to find new therapies. I am working on a particular type of medulloblastoma which has the poorest prognosis, looking for the defects that cause it and seeing if there are available drugs which could treat the tumour.

Why is more money needed for research?

If we can spend money on the new technologies available, we have the chance to make major breakthroughs in disease detection and treatment.