Stephen Robinson – Cancer and angiogenesis

Name: Stephen Robinson

Location: UEA Biomedical Research Center, Norwich

What do you do?
The main focus in our lab is on cancer therapies. A lot of treatments target the cancer cells themselves but we come from a different route. When cancer takes root in the body it hijacks things and one of the things it convinces the body to do it to grow new blood cells closer to the cancer so it can get all its nutrients to grow and spread. So, what we do is try and stop the blood vessels from misbehaving. The idea of this therapy (anti-angiogenic therapy) has been around since the 1970’s but current ones don’t work very well because cancer is clever, it will always find other ways to grow new vessels to supply it. One of the ways we’re trying to stop it is by targeting proteins on the blood vessels themselves. These proteins aren’t there normally, only when blood vessels start to move and grow so this means you don’t get any nasty side effects like you would if the therapy attacked all of your blood vessels.

What can you see?
From my lab bench I can see PhD students busily toiling away at their projects and supervising the undergrads. Supervising is fun and crazy at the same time but I enjoy it (crazy in a good way)! We’re on the ground floor of our building so we have a nice view of the little lawn area where we see all the UEA bunnies and dogs going by.

When I’m not doing science I…
Am I ever not doing science?! I’m quite physically active. I cycle and I run and I recently got into rowing. I take my two dogs for walks, they’re quite a rare breed in Britain called Finnish Lapphunds and look like little huskies so they get a lot of attention!

If you’d like to find out more about Stephen’s research, and other cutting each research at UEA, check out their twitter feed:@UEAResearch