Mjriam started her active participation in oncology studies during her bachelor at the Magna Græcia University of Catanzaro in 2016. Following this, she completed her graduation in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Bologna, including a 6-month internship at the Cancer Center Amsterdam focusing on the role of the tumor microenvironment in the chemoresistance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This interest led her to pursue her PhD studies at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies on PDAC research, working at Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza under the supervision of Prof. Elisa Giovannetti.
PDAC is a highly fatal malignancy without effective screening modalities, nor effective anticancer treatments. Recent studies have demonstrated that pancreas is not a sterile environment and harbors its own microbial community. The intra-tumour microbiota is now recognized as a significant factor in the development of PDAC and its resistance to chemotherapy. However, the exact role of microorganisms in PDAC development and the mechanisms behind their contribution to chemoresistance remain unclear.
The overall aim of Mjriam’s PhD project is to investigate the contribution of microbiota to carcinogenesis and chemoresistance of PDAC in order to define a panel of innovative biomarkers for early diagnosis and prediction of the efficacy of anticancer therapies.