PhD Student Profile

Danielle McCullough

Danielle McCullough

PhD Student

School: School of Human and Life Sciences

Campus: Canterbury

Project title

‘Investigation into the effect of invertebrate (Theraphosid) venoms on EGF Receptor Kinases in Cancer.’

Profile summary

I have been at Christ Church University since Sept 2014 and am employed part-time as a Life Science Instructor within the School of Human and Life Sciences, whilst simultaneously working part-time towards completing my PhD. I am currently based and undertake my research at the CCCU North Holmes Campus.

Prior to undertaking my PhD I completed both a Masters degree in Cancer Biology (2014) and an undergraduate degree in Biology (2012) at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Research and knowledge exchange

As a member of the Biomolecular Research Group (BMRG) my PhD focus is to investigate the potential of venoms isolated from members of the theraphosids family (tarantulas) of invertebrates to block the activity of Receptor tyrosine kinases, which are commonly over-expressed in a variety of cancer types, thereby inhibiting cancer cell growth.

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), particularly those members of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor family, are located on cellular surface membranes and are commonly upregulated or mutated in cancerous cells, ultimately leading to accelerated and uncontrolled levels of cellular signalling and growth.

A variety of venoms, including those isolated from the families’ reptillia (snakes), arachnida (spiders) and hymenoptera (bees), have been shown to display a variety of anti-cancer properties and thus make them attractive targets of investigation for potential novel anti-cancer therapies.

My current research includes experimental studies in model cancer cell lines (A431, A549 and MDA-MB-468) to understand and identify which components of the venoms are interacting with the receptors and how they bring about inhibitory effects.

Teaching and subject expertise

  • Level 0 – All Foundation level modules.
  • Level 4 – Core Science.
  • Level 4 – Microbiology and Cell Culture.
  • Level 5 – Communications and Analysis. 


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 00:59:00