Lydia is a second year PhD student at the University of Southampton. Her role is to analyse what happens within breast cancer cells at a molecular level. Her research is integral to our understanding of what makes a cancer cell behave the way it does.
COVID-19 working restrictions are now limiting Lydia’s access to a microscope, although her team have managed to secure a dedicated room for tissue culture, she no longer has the access she needs to a microscope – causing her and five other breast cancer researchers real problems and placing in jeopardy this life-saving research.
Lydia and her team are funded by Against Breast Cancer who this year have experienced a 50% fall in charitable income. This is putting huge pressure Lydia and the team, putting at risk their vital research. Please help us to help Lydia by contributing to our campaign; A microscope for Lydia (page now closed – thank you for your support).
Lydia’s research involves growing cell lines in differing conditions and analysing the results. In order to maintain these cell lines she needs to check that their morphology (how they look) and that their growth behaviour is normal – cells are extremely sensitive and we need to ensure that they are behaving ‘normally’ before we can begin to perform analysis or conduct experiments using them.
We check this progress using a microscope. A microscope is vital to show us how quickly the cells are growing, how densely packed they are, and how many cells are alive. Understanding characteristics are important because cells will only grow and behave optimally when they are kept within a certain density range and have enough nutrients. If the cells are not maintained within strict conditions they will begin to behave abnormally and die. If they are not behaving ‘normally’ then we cannot perform analysis and conduct experiments.
The microscope Lydia needs is essential for her to continue her to undertake her role. The piece of equipment will be in daily use by her and the other members of the team costs £6800.
This project is part of a much larger 11-year project designing new treatments against breast cancer and is being paid for by fundraising.