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Faculty of Health Sciences Strategic Initiatives Fund

Support health research at Queen’s

As Queen’s Health Sciences (QHS) delivers on its ambitious plan for Radical Collaboration, interdisciplinary research will become a core focus. QHS researchers and centres will shift toward a culture of team-based research. Scientific superclusters will be established, allowing multi-disciplinary researchers, clinicians, and scientists to unite and explore big questions. This focus on collaboration and team-based research will lead to important advancements across cancer, neuroscience, global and population health, translational medicine, health policy, health data, and artificial intelligence.

Here’s one example: Over the course of her career, Dr. Postovit has collaborated with researchers across the country studying what she describes as “the very worst kinds of cancer” because they are so efficient at spreading, and at resisting therapeutic treatments. An authority on breast cancer, Dr. Postovit’s current research is focused on cellular plasticity, or the ways in which cancer cells change and adapt, as well as the role a primitive embryonic protein, called Nodal, plays in that process.

Dr. Postovit, who joined Queen’s in 2019 and serves as Head, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, was running a research program at Western University when she and her team discovered the role Nodal played in aggressive breast cancer and melanoma cells, along with the fact that the protein, which can be detected in the blood, could be targeted with medication in the fight to contain these cells.

Dr. Postovit, who has published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals, says she believes that discovery research, paired with knowledge translation, is to advancing the future of healthcare.

“Clinical trials are at the end of the pipeline,” she says. “If we don’t keep having new ideas, that pipeline will get stagnant. We can’t just do applied research – we must do discovery as well. Discovery research is how we tackle what to do next.”

As far as her own research goes, Dr. Postovit knows that her research has already made a difference for women living with cancer. As early clinical trials related to her Nodal research proceed, she remains hopeful that the results will lead to better treatments in the years to come.

Help QHS to answer the most pressing questions in human health when you give to the Strategic Initiatives Fund.