Meet Dr Imogen Roth, our new cancer biologist

Dr Imogen Roth started in February and is already working on research for the GMRI.

Imogen returned to New Zealand after a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Oxford, supported by a prestigious Nuffield Medical Fellowship. She’s happy to be back, and contributing to research science in New Zealand. Imogen wants to use her background in cancer biology and tumour suppressor genes to look closely at cancer stem cells. She already has ideas on what she can develop into experiments and projects. She loves looking closely at things to understand how they work.

‘I’m into data analysis and precise work — knowing that the result I give is the right one,’ she says.

Imogen has just started her first research project for us. We’re doing clinical trials of an innovative treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. Patients appear to be responding well to the treatment, and we need to know why. Imogen will research the biological mechanisms involved to understand how and why this treatment is effective.

Imogen’s research interests include cancer stem cells, cell fate drivers, the mutational landscape in cancer, predisposition to metastasis, and inflammation-driven diseases.

She considers communication vital, and says it’s important to engage with the public and make the findings clear for them. ‘It’s important to talk on a level that people can understand,’ she says.

Her highlight was training and researching at the University of Oxford

Oxford has a huge network of scientists with a wide range of expertise and equipment, making it a great place to learn and conduct research. Imogen loved being able to ask questions. And if she needed particular equipment for a task she was bound to find it somewhere.

While she was at Oxford, Imogen did a few different projects using publicly available information. One looked at the response of breast cancer tumour cell lines to irradiation.

As much as she enjoyed her time there, she’s happy to be back home.

‘The science we do in New Zealand is as good as anywhere else, and it’s nice to be able to come back and contribute.’


Read more about Imogen and the awards she has received for her work