Bringing hope to women

Breast cancer is not a single disease treatable with a unique therapy, but a group of disorders, each defined by a distinct molecular profile requiring a different approach to treatment. Colombian scientist Lina Gallego hopes to find new ways to cure every different type of breast cancer.

DiscovHER - What will society gain from your research?

Lina Gallego - The aim of the research in Cancer Genomics is to identify a full collection of genes as well as inherited or sporadic mutations driving oncogenesis, tumor progression and metastasis. The human DNA sequence database (Human Genome Project) and high-throughout sequencing techniques will enable detection of these DNA variations and the dynamic network of molecular interactions within the cell that define the micro-environment in which cancer cells develop. By incorporating this initiative to the Latin American Research in Breast Cancer, I would be able to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the biological differences between the wide spectrum of cancer subtypes with specific causal genetic changes and clinical outcomes that require also different treatments. My hope is that our research can contribute to the characterization and advance of these novel genomic-based strategies for the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatment of Breast Cancer.


D/H - Why does this have such an impact on you?

LG - Being able to participate with fundamental theories and innovative experimental designs in molecular biology, to the interconnected effort of many professionals in different fields for improving the conditions, and for bringing hope to these women is my biggest satisfaction and the reason why I appreciate so much this chance to continue my research in cancer genomics abroad.


D/H - When did it become clear that a career in science was for you?

LG - My interest in science initiated early in my childhood. I was always fascinated by the mysteries of life, and how those smart and admirable scientists accepted the challenge of finding the accurate answers to questions that have intrigued humans since our origin. Life Sciences offer a unique opportunity for us to combine exciting intellectual challenges and philanthropic activities as we help other people access superior life conditions through our research. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my working time.


D/H - What hindrances might be faced by emerging women in science?

LG - Women have always faced countless obstacles when trying to enter into environments traditionally dominated by men, and science fields are not the exception. Fighting for the inclusion of women in science and technology in an equitable way is crucial for reaching the highest quality standards in research and innovation, as well as for the economical development of the countries. Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and all those outstanding and brilliant women who brought fundamental contributions to advance their disciplines demonstrated that fighting for the presence of women in science was totally worth it.


D/H - Ultimately, what does receiving this fellowship mean for you?

LG - This Fellowship represents a fantastic opportunity to apply all the knowledge and the practical experience that I’ve acquired in the fields of basic molecular biology and genomics to the understanding of the processes underlying Breast Cancer biology, which in turn will give us the conceptual tools to develop new and improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies designed on the basis of the particular genetic features of this disease within Latin American women.

L’Oréal–UNESCO
For Women in Science

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