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Biomedical Science Subject Spotlight

Cancer: The Fight Against Our Ultimate Challenge
with Dr Gavin Bowen-Metcalf from Anglia Ruskin University

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In this gripping Subject Spotlight called: Cancer: the fight against our ultimate enemy, Dr Gavin Bowen-Metcalf explores what cancer actually is, with a focus on the five major cancer groups, how cancer progression is categorised, and how cancer is researched. Gavin then introduces you to a key biomedical research development in fighting cancer: the role of microRNAs. He looks at what they are, and the positive and negative roles of microRNAs in cancer development and treatment, as well as other uses for microRNAs outside of biomedical science. Gavin then turns to look at the power of natural compounds that have been linked to treating cancer, and a specific look at his own research conducted at ARU and how that is contributing to potential new discoveries within the field. Finally, you will be set a task to research pancreatic cancer, its impact, commonality and risk factors. 

Dr Gavin Bowen-MetcalfAnglia Ruskin UniversityBiomedical sciences

All episodes
1. Defining cancer and research
2. What are microRNAs?
3. Natural compounds as treatments for cancer
4. Activity: Pancreatic cancer and the fight for survival

About the university

Anglia Ruskin University
Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University is an innovative global university with students from 185 countries at our campuses in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Peterborough and Writtle. These students are at the heart of our University, and we're delighted that our final-year undergraduates are positive about their educational experience. Our community is also incredibly important to us, and we're proud of the role we play in our cities and the wider region – including the positive effect on jobs and the local economy. It is this impact that helped us become the THE University of the Year 2023, a prestigious award that recognises our success in delivering high impact projects focused on the difference we make in the region and communities where we’re based as well as the contributions our students and graduates make to society.

Anglia Ruskin University profile →
Meet the academic
Dr Gavin Bowen-Metcalf

Dr Gavin Bowen-Metcalf is the Course Leader of the BSc Hons Laboratory Scientist degree apprenticeship, and a Lecturer in Biomedical Science and Cancer Cell Biology Research Sub-Group lead at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, with experience in the fields of molecular oncology, genomics and histopathology within the NHS, academia and industry. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and takes a student-focused pedagogical approach, striving to create a stimulating learning environment that is inclusive and supportive to inspire the next generation of scientists. Gavin's research interests include exploring novel natural compounds and their impact upon circulating nucleic acids, for example, non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs, and their roles in tumour cell biology, metastasis, drug resistance, early diagnosis, and use as therapeutic targets with novel agents. Gavin completed his translational research training at Imperial College London, in the fields of Oncology and Cancer Biology and Biomedical Engineering. Gavin completed further research training during a postdoctoral research role at the Barts Cancer Institute, London, in the field of histopathology. Gavin has also worked within the NHS (Dept. of vascular surgery/ medical imaging), Medical Devices Industry (Clearblue - Pregnancy and Fertility) and at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Cancer Spatial Transcriptomics). Gavin is a visiting scholar at various institutions and lectures in the fields of molecular oncology and genetics. He is also an active Non-Executive Director (Trustee) at Alex TLC, a UK-based charitable organisation offering support for all those affected by leukodystrophies.

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