Metabolic reprogramming and chemotherapy resistance in triple-negative breast cancer

Project Details

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer for which treatment options are largely limited to conventional chemotherapy agents. Chemotherapy resistance is a major barrier to the successful treatment of TNBC and there is a critical need to identify novel therapeutic strategies to treat this disease. We have previously shown that chemotherapy agents reprogram the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway and demonstrated that a clinically approved inhibitor of this metabolic pathway can sensitize TNBC cells to chemotherapy (Cancer Discovery, 2017). We are continuing to investigate metabolic reprogramming events induced by chemotherapy and the contribution of the identified pathways to therapy resistance and tumour progression.


Stefan Bjelosevic, Post-doctoral fellow
Rebecca Dawson, Post-doctoral fellow
Sri Vaidyanathan, PhD student
Athena Ong, PhD student
Keziah Ting, PhD student
Olivia Lee, Honours student
Riley Goldsworthy, Honours student
Rasan Sathiqu, Research assistant
Tara Tigani, Research assistant

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

  1. Brown KK*, Spinelli JB, Asara JM, Toker A*. Adaptive reprogramming of de novo pyrimidine synthesis is a metabolic vulnerability in triple-negative breast cancer. Cancer Discovery 2017; 7(4):391-9. *Corresponding authors
  2. Bjelosevic S, Gruber E, Newbold A, Shembrey C, Devlin JR, Hogg SJ, Kats LM, Todorovski I, Fan Z, Abrehart TC, Pomilio G, Wei AH, Gregory GP, Vervoort SJ, Brown KK*, Johnstone RW*. Serine biosynthesis is a metabolic vulnerability in FLT3-ITD-driven acute myeloid leukaemia. Cancer Discovery 2021; DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0738. *Corresponding authors
  3. Cox AG, Hwang KL, Brown KK, Evason KJ, Beltz S, Tsomides A, O'Connor K, Galli GG, Yimlamai D, Chhangawala S, Yuan M, Lien EC, Wucherpfennig J, Nissim S, Minami A, Cohen DE, Camargo FD, Asara JM, Houvras Y, Stainier DY, Goessling W. Yap reprograms glutamine metabolism to increase nucleotide biosynthesis and enable liver growth. Nature Cell Biology 2016; 18(8):886-96

Research Group

Kristin Brown laboratory

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Biomedicine, Cell Signalling, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

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