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Botnar Research Centre, Old Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LD


January 2019


Investigating the contribution of the Unfolded Protein Response to prostate cancer bone metastasis


Professor Claire Edwards, Professor Ian Mills, Professor John Christianson and Dr Srinivasa Rao

Zeynep Kaya

BSc, MSc, Molecular Biology and Genetics

DPhil student

I am currently a final year DPhil student within the bone oncology lab headed by Professor Claire Edwards. I work on a joint project between Professor Claire Edwards, Professor Ian Mills and Professor John Christianson. My research focuses on Investigating the contribution of the UPR to prostate cancer bone metastasis prostate cancer-induced bone disease. 

The majority of deaths from PCa arise following metastasis, particularly to the skeleton. PCa bone metastasis is the driven interaction between invading tumor cells, osteoblasts which are bone making cells, and osteoclasts which are bone resorbing cells; however, the mechanism of action for bone metastasis development from prostate cancer is poorly understood. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) promote primary PCa, however the contribution of the UPR to PCa bone metastasis remains unknown. The aim of my DPhil project is to determine the role of the UPR in PCa bone metastasis, focusing on the osteogenic potential of PCa cells, EMT and migration, and PCa-induced bone disease. 

I finished my bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics program from Middle East Technical University, Turkey (2008-2013). Then I completed my master’s degree in at Koç University, Turkey (2013-2016). During my masters I worked on the functional and structural characterisation of Androgen Receptor Variant 7 (ARV7) in prostate cancer. Specifically, I studied the intermolecular and intramolecular interactions of both androgen receptor and androgen receptor variant ARV7 using live cell FRET imaging; also, I worked on a tunable model of ARV7 expression using an inducible ARV7 LNCaP cell line that I generated and characterized the effects of ARV7 both on AR transcriptional activation and cell cycle progression.