Sinead is an unmitigated science enthusiast having achieved a first-class degree in Biochemistry, including a year working at GlaxoSmithKline on an immunology/ epigenetics related project: experience which led to her undertaking a PhD in cancer immunotherapy.
It is known that our immune system plays a crucial role in fighting cancer, however as cancer progresses, immune cells lose function in a process called exhaustion, allowing for cancer persistence. Current cancer immunotherapies have revolutionised cancer treatment, including checkpoint blockade, which targets exhausted cells reinvigorating their function. However, not all patients respond to immunotherapies as they lack the specific progenitor exhausted cell subset infiltrating their tumours that therapies target.
Her lab has identified a protein family present in immune cells that is involved in inducing this exhaustion process and can be targeted therapeutically using an approved class of drug. Her project aims to elucidate the specific roles of this identified protein family in the exhaustion process and to determine whether therapeutically targeting these proteins will rescue immune cell function both as a single agent and/ or amplify the response to immunotherapies.
In addition to her science experience, Sinead has taken on multiple jobs alongside her studies, including sales and teaching. Sales was an entirely commission-based role and she was the first employee to reach 100 sales in all of the London-based offices at the start of 2019, evidencing her communication skills and ability to build a rapport with customers. With regards to her teaching experience, Sinead received the highest grade achievable for her ‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults’ and have over 1.5 years of experience teaching English to both adults and teenagers. Additionally, she is currently a Scientist Mentor at the Gene Technology Access Centre. She conducts science related workshops, presenting the appropriate academic knowledge and guiding students through practical components.