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Dr. Mauricio Rodriguez-Torres studying aggressive breast cancer stem cells

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Dr. Alison Allan (left) and Dr. Mauricio Rodriguez-Torres (right) at the Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit (TBCRU) at London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre.

Dr. Mauricio Rodriguez-Torres is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western University. In 2012-2013, Mauricio received a scholarship from the Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit (TBCRU) to perform some exciting research at London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre. This scholarship is supported by the award from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada to the TBCRU. Originally trained as a medical doctor in Colombia, Mauricio is now carrying out his graduate studies with translational scientist Dr. Alison Allan. He is studying a very specific type of aggressive breast cancer cells called “cancer stem cells” that are responsible for distant spread (metastasis) and therapy resistance in breast cancer, with the goal of identifying the specific molecular factors used by these breast cancer cells to travel to and grow in organs such as the lung. In the future, this information could lead to new, more effective targeted therapies for breast cancer.

Recently, Mauricio was awarded a Vanier Scholarship by the Government of Canada, the most prestigious doctoral scholarship given out in Canada. These scholarships were created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Mauricio was selected based on his outstanding leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in the health sciences. We are very proud to have him as a TBCRU trainee working on patient-focused breast cancer research!

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