A student from the University of Bolton has been carrying out research which could help to predict more accurately whether oral cancer might return in a patient.

Dorcas Ishaya was awarded a First Class Honours degree in Molecular Biology at a ceremony at Bolton’s Albert Halls last week.

As well as the top honour, Dorcas also successfully completed an innovative final year student research project in oral cancer.

The 21-year-old, examined whether certain genes could be detected which would enable the medical profession to more accurately predict if oral cancer would return.

Dorcas, who aims to attend Medical School with hopes of becoming an oncologist, said she had enjoyed her time at the university

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world.

Despite major technological and therapeutic advancements, the five-year survival rate of patients remains unchanged.

For many years, cancer researchers have struggled to understand why although many cancer drugs and treatments reduce the size of tumours, most cancers eventually relapse.

Some recent evidence suggests that a small subset of cancer cells with stem-like properties are responsible for tumour initiation, cancer aggressiveness, treatment resistance, and tumour reoccurrence.

Dorcas said: “I found the molecular genetics behind this physiological response very interesting.

“In my project I looked whether a panel of nine genes indicated to have a role in growth and proliferation of oral cancer could be detected to allow us make a more accurate prediction of the likelihood of the oral cancer relapse.”

Dorcas said that the results confirmed the potential involvement of specific genes which could be investigated further as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for oral cancer.

“The findings indicate that a combination of these biomarkers may be useful to predict the likelihood of oral cancer relapse,” she added.

Meanwhile, another of this year’s Molecular Biology graduands, who has a passion for Molecular Physiology, presented his innovative final year research project at the successful University of Bolton’s TIRI Conference 2018.

Abusadat Abdullah, who graduated last week with a First-Class Honours BSc in Molecular Biology, presented a paper entitled ‘Signal Transduction: Molecular Genetic Responses to Starch Metabolism and Sugar Phloem Dynamics’.

Abusadat, aged 26, said: ‘It was a great experience studying at Bolton, all aspects of it, and one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

“The people I met, lecturers and students, were so friendly and I made so many life-long friendships.

“At the  University of Bolton I developed an interest in Molecular Physiology, the field that focuses on how molecular genetic mechanisms can be the cause of physiological processes and how these mechanisms are regulated.”

Throughout the Medical Biology programme there is an emphasis on laboratory teaching, and students encouraged to see how the blending of scientific fields and laboratory-based learning is essential to the training of a properly rounded medical biologist.

Dr Ianis G. Matsoukas, Assistant Teaching Professor and Abusadat’s personal tutor and research supervisor, said: “Our courses provide students with a sound grounding in all key scientific fields. In addition, our undergraduate students are encouraged to exercise leadership, initiative and responsibility and to appreciate the need for continual professional development.”

So, two years ago I started working with my personal tutor and research supervisor Dr Ianis G. Matsoukas on the molecular genetic and physiological mechanisms by which environment regulates growth and development in response to carbohydrate allocation and starch metabolism.

Abusadat, originally from Chittagong, Bangladesh, aims to complete a PhD and join the academic world as a Molecular Physiologist.

He said: “‘I am very proud today that together with the completion of my undergraduate degree, I will have my first publication in a prestigious journal of molecular genetics.”

All undergraduate students studying in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bolton have a significant independent study component in their programme, especially in the third year when they undertake a compulsory research project module.

In this project, students design, implement and write up their own piece of research.

Dr Matsoukas said: “At the University of Bolton, we help students realise their full potential; not as passive recipients of knowledge, but as active researchers, analysts, critics and scientists eager to master increasingly challenging tasks.”


The University of Bolton
University of Bolton Summer Graduations 2018

The University of Bolton is an ambitious place to study, with a focus on teaching quality and offering a great student experience.



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