STEM for Britain award

James Larkin, Lecturer in Biochemistry, has been awarded the silver medal for biology at the STEM for Britain event for early career scientists, held at the Palace of Westminster.

Dr Larkin, who was an undergraduate at Trinity, has developed a way to detect brain tumours much earlier than currently possible by conventional diagnosis with MRI. He does this by analysing urine samples and looking for changes in metabolite composition.

Dr Larkin writes: Around one in five cancer patients develop secondary tumours, or metastases, which spread to the brain. These are hard to diagnose early using current techniques and late-stage diagnosis limits therapeutic options. I am working on earlier diagnosis of brain metastases using a urine metabolic profiling technique called metabolomics. Here, we take advantage of disrupted metabolism in tumours by profiling the metabolites we find in urine samples. We have shown that this technique can be used to diagnose and track development of metastases in mice and we are now trialling the same methods in patients with brain metastases.

Posted: 20 April 2018

James Larkin

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