Preferred method of communication
Ms. Nicola Spencer
Research and teaching
- Prairie to Pharmacy Program
Summary of Research
Our research focuses on two topics. 1. Checkpoint Adaptation: Our objective is to understand the molecular basis of checkpoint adaptation (mitosis with damaged DNA) and its impact upon the biology of cancer cells. We pioneered an experimental model of checkpoint adaptation in human cancer cells in which we can isolate cells immediately prior to and after checkpoint adaptation to map the pathways that link it to cell cycle and checkpoint proteins such as cyclin dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1) and checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) using the techniques of microscopy, Western blotting and enzyme assays. Recently, we found that cancer cells can survive checkpoint adaptation and acquire genomic changes such as micronuclei and changes in chromosome number. We believe it is necessary to understand the relationship between chemotherapy, checkpoint adaptation, and genomic change in order to design safe and effective cancer treatments. 2. The Prairie to Pharmacy Program - We are investigating native plant species from the prairie ecological zone for anti-cancer activities. Several plant species within this zone produce secondary metabolites as part of an ecological survival strategy. These compounds can be a valuable source of chemicals that have biological activities. We use live cell imaging, biochemical and cell biology methods, and biology-guided fractionation to characterize cellular pathways and chemicals. Several species, such as Gaillardia aristata, locally known as the “blanket flower”, and Thermopsis rhombifolia (Buffalo bean), have shown different anti-cancer activities in cell-based tests.
Dr. Roy Golsteyn directs the Cancer Cell Laboratory and the Natural Product Laboratory at the University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, AB. He completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, under Sir Tim Hunt (Nobel Prize, 2001) and continued his studies in cancer research at the Curie Institute in Paris, France. He was employed as a senior scientist in drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Golsteyn was the Technology Board Member for Economic Development Lethbridge and currently sits on the Board of Directors of 1st Choice Saving and Credit Union in southern Alberta. He was Chief Judge for the 2013 Canada-Wide Science Fair, which is committed to cultivating innovation in Canadian youth. He currently leads a research team in basic research and its application to health and disease at the University of Lethbridge, where he is an Associate Professor. He holds 5 patents, over 80 scientific publications, and has held research grants from private, provincial and national agencies including NSERC, Human Frontiers, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.