Dr Sam Siljee, a trained medical doctor, is a PhD student at the GMRI. He is currently enrolled with Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) working on a lung cancer project in collaboration with the VUW School of Biological Sciences and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit at the Wellington Regional Hospital.
Sam first experienced biomedical research during a summer studentship at the GMRI in 2014 and has taken time out of his clinical work to pursue full-time research.
He is studying early changes in lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death both globally and in Aotearoa New Zealand. Understanding these early changes will help develop knowledge of the disease process, with the hope of developing novel treatment approaches for this debilitating and deadly disease.
Sam is developing a lung organoid system, in which stem cells from patients’ lung tissues are isolated and grown in special culture media, forming microscopic lung tissues. Several sophisticated techniques are being used for the project, including air-liquid interface cell culturing systems, and mass spectrometry to uncover protein changes in cells in response to genetic or environmental alterations.