Congratulations Rayzel Fernades on her PhD award and post-doctoral position in London

The Centre congratulates Dr Rayzel Fernades on being awarded her PhD.

Rayzel Fernandes BSc, MSc, PhD
Thesis: The role of microRNA-194 in prostate cancer progression
Superviors: Dr Luke Selth, Dr Theresa Hickey, Prof Wayne Tilley

Summary: Rayzel’s project characterised the function of a small non-coding RNA molecule, microRNA-194 (miR-194), in prostate cancer. Using cutting-edge genomic techniques and bioinformatics to identify miR-194 target genes, she identified a new role for miR-194 in prostate cancer.  miR-194 activity is inversely correlated with androgen receptor (AR) activity in clinical samples, an observation explained mechanistically by AR-mediated repression of miR-194 expression. AR is the main signalling protein in prostate cancer. In concordance with these findings, miR-194 activity was significantly elevated in treatment-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer, an aggressive AR-independent subtype of prostate cancer.  Targeting miR-194 effectively inhibited the growth of aggressive models of this cancer in a laboratory model.

Impact: The ultimate goal of studies such as Rayzel’s is to identify and develop new drugs targeting key pathways in cancer, to advance treatment and outcomes.  miR-194 may be a potential target and further pre-clinical studies are now required to determine its suitability and safety in order to progress into human clinical trials.

We are pleased to announce that Rayzel has been successful in obtaining a post-doctoral position at the Imperial College in London. Rayzel will be working with Professor of Cancer Biology, Charlotte Bevan, who is non-clinical head of prostate cancer research in the Department of Surgery & Cancer. We wish her all the best for her exciting research career ahead.


  • Fernandes R, Hickey T, Tilley WD, Selth LA. Interplay between the androgen receptor signalling axis and microRNAs in prostate cancer. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2019 Feb 1. pii: ERC-18-0571.R1. doi: 10.1530/ERC-18-0571. View abstract
  • Paltoglou S, Das R, Townley SL, Hickey TE, Tarulli GA, Coutinho I, Fernandes R, Hanson AR, Denis I, Carroll JS, Dehm SM, Raj GV, Plymate SR, Tilley WD, Selth LA.Novel Androgen Receptor Coregulator GRHL2 Exerts Both Oncogenic and Antimetastatic Functions in Prostate Cancer. Cancer Res. 2017 Jul 1;77(13):3417-3430. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-1616.  View abstract
  • Das R, Gregory PA, Fernandes RC, Denis I, Wang Q, Townley SL, Zhao SG, Hanson AR, Pickering MA, Armstrong HK, Lokman NA, Ebrahimie E, Davicioni E, Jenkins RB, Karnes RJ, Ross AE, Den RB, Klein EA, Chi KN, Ramshaw HS, Williams ED, Zoubeidi A, Goodall GJ, Feng FY, Butler LM, Tilley WD, Selth LA. MicroRNA-194 Promotes Prostate Cancer Metastasis by Inhibiting SOCS2. Cancer Res. 2017 Feb 15;77(4):1021-1034. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2529. View abstract
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