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Personal profile

Research interests

Melanie Flint is a Reader in Cancer Research and is the leader of a stress and breast cancer program and section head for Therapeutics at the University of Brighton. She is currently Co-leader of Brighton and Sussex Cancer Research Network and a member of the Cancer Translation Advisory Group Steering Committee and Theme leader for Cancer. Dr Flint is also a member of the NCRI Symptom Management Working Group and the British Breast Group. Melanie trained in the Women’s Cancer Research Centre, at the University of Pittsburgh cancer Institute and remains at adjunct Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh. 

Currently, the focus of Melanie’s Cancer Stress laboratory is translational cancer research. Specifically, her research examines hormonal influences on cell cycle regulation and cancer. Melanie’s primary research project involves the direct interplay between stress hormones (cortisol, noradrenaline) and the immune and cancer cells. This is accomplished through a mechanistic study of administration of stress hormones to cancerous cells, and observing these effects both in vitro, in vivo and human tissue sample models. The goal of her laboratory is to understand the mechanism through which behavioural stress impacts cancer initiation, progression and responses to drug treatments.

Melanie’s work is currently supported by Cancer Research UK, the Rosetrees Trust and the Boltini Trust. Recent projects include ‘A reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) monitoring system to study their role in cancer’ and ‘Stress hormones in BRCA mutation carriers increase susceptibility to the development of cancer’. Her work on stress and cancer has previously been supported by National Institutes of Health, Team Verrico, Breast cancer Research Trust, Wendy Will Case cancer fund and the PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Initiative.

Quotation 

It is very exciting to work on a (series) of projects that combine the expertise of laboratory based scientists with that of psycho-oncologists in an innovative area of research likely to produce tangible benefits for patients receiving cancer treatments. Valerie Jenkins, SHORE-C Sussex health Outcomes Research and Education group

Supervisory Interests

I currently lead a dynamic Cancer Stress Team consisting of PhD students, medical students, masters students and post docs. We study the effects of stress hormones on cell signaling, drug resistance and immunity in breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.  My passion is mentoring students with a strong interest in becoming cancer researchers. We welcome driven, enthusiastic members to our team!

PhD Students

Marta Falcinelli Oct 2016-Oct 2019

Haya Intablis Jan 2016-Dec 2019

Maysa Maysa Al-Natsheh Jan 2017-Jan 2020

Gheed Alhity Jan 2019-Dec 2021

Post Doctoral Scientists (as of 2020)

Dr Aya Abdullah

Dr Caroline Garrett

Dr Will Jones

Scholarly biography

Melanie Flint received her PhD at Imperial College, London, UK. She moved to the United States and trained as a postdoctoral scientist at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV. It was there where she began a research track in the field of bi behavioural research. She became very interested in the power of stressful influences impacting disease outcome. At the time, Melanie remained focused on the immune and inflammatory systems and the impact of stressful responses. Her research interests began to include investigations into how psychosocial hormones influence the immune system and may impact cancer biology. Indeed, she was recruited to join the Behavioral Oncology team at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) as a Research Associate on the basis of my past experience in the field of stress and the immune system. During her tenure in this group, she worked on a number of projects related to how stress may impact the incidence and course of cancer, with a focus on the impact of stress and stress hormones on DNA damage and repair. In 2007, Melanie was promoted to Research Instructor in the Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology. She began to apply my molecular and cell biology expertise to complement my breast cancer research, especially with the validation and implementation of cancer biomarkers. Melanie became a Research Assistant Professor in 2012, where she trained in breast and ovarian cancer at the Womens cancer Research center, Pittsburgh.

Approach to teaching

I currently teach Immunopharmacology, autoimmunity and I’m case leader for Breast Cancer. In 2019, I designed and run a ‘cancer bench to bedside’ masters module. I prefer a more hands on practical approach to my teaching—this can be achieved though interactive lectures and workshops. Together with psychologists, Macmillan nurses, pharmacologists and pharmacists we have created interactive workshops to enhance student experiences.

External positions

Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh

1 Jan 2013 → …

Keywords

  • RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
  • stress, glucocorticoids, immune, drug resistance

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