After her PhD examining the role of novel TGF-β family ligands in autophagy and muscle wasting in COPD patients at Imperial College London, Jen was awarded an MRC Centenary Early Career Award to continue her work on novel TGF-β family ligands. Concurrently, Jen’s secondary post-doctoral project involved examining the role of epigenetics and microRNAs in muscle wasting in COPD and sarcopenia.
In 2015, Jen joined the Targeted Therapy team at the Institute of Cancer Research under the supervision of Dr Shreerang Bhide, working on a pilot study to design novel assays to measure circulating tumour DNA in Head and Neck cancer. In collaboration with Professor Nick Turner’s team, Jen developed a novel NGS-based assay to measure circulating Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) DNA in HPV-driven Head and Neck cancer, with the view of using these assays to monitor patient response to treatment, disease recurrence and metastasis.
Using the pilot data generated, the team successfully won funding for an MRC grant to fund a multicentre expansion study examining 200 patients with Head and Neck cancer over 3 years. Jen is currently over-seeing the setup of this trial. Jen is also developing new assays to examine other HPV-driven cancers such as anal canal and cervical cancer. Jen is currently supervising a clinical MD(Res) student examining the use of the HPV assays to screen women with pre-cancerous lesions.