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Martha Enger Lab
MSc. Student

Mia Kristin Sandnes Nilsen

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Background

I have a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from the Department of Biological Sciences and I am currently working on my master's thesis in the Brain Tumour Immunology group at the Department of Biomedicine.

Project

Identification of novel small molecule inhibitors of CSPG4/NG2 for the development of new tailored therapies for glioblastoma patients

My master's thesis focuses on glioblastoma (GBM) and CSPG4/NG2, a transmembrane proteoglycan that my group discovered to be an independent poor prognostic marker in GBM. CSPG4/NG2 is abnormally overexpressed in about 58% of glioblastoma patient biopsies and promotes aggressive illness by enhancing tumour cell proliferation, angiogenesis and radioresistance through receptor-ligand signalling interactions. The median survival of GBM patients after initial diagnosis is only 14.6 months despite aggressive systemic treatment. There are no successful targeted therapies in clinical usage. The main goal of my project is to begin the process of discovering novel small molecule inhibitors of CSPG4/NG2 using structurally based drug discovery methodologies. I hope to uncover several drug target sites by solving the 3D structure of the full-length N-terminus D1 domain of CSPG4/NG2. In silico screening will then be used to find small molecule inhibitors of the proteoglycan, which will be tested in vitro and in vivo for mechanisms of treatment efficacy and toxicity against GBM cells.