College Research Associate
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cancer Research UK
Alasdair is currently working at the CRUK Cambridge Institute, on the Addenbrooke’s Biomedical Campus. His focus is primarily in normal breast biology and in breast cancer, with particular emphasis on the role of adult mammary stem cells in both tissues.
Specifically his main goal is to determine which type of cell(s) in the breast give rise to breast cancer, how this process occurs, and what makes one breast cancer so different from another breast cancer.
One absolutely fundamental question in breast cancer today revolves around the finding that the term ‘breast cancer’ actually describes a group of very distinct diseases that respond very differently (or not at all) to therapy, and have very different prognostic outcomes.
Alasdair is interested in why these different types of breast cancer exist, how they arise, and from which starting normal cell. For example, do the differences we see between different types of breast cancer reflect the different spectrums of mutations that have accumulated over a person’s lifetime, or is it due to cancer arising in different types of normal cell types within the breast, or is it a combination of the two?
The hope is that if we can gain answers to these very simple questions, we will gain a more detailed understanding on how breast cancer begins and develops, thus allowing us to tailor better targeted therapies.
Thus, put simply ‘If we can build it, then we can break it!’