5. February, 24

February 2024 – Monthly portrait of a young researcher

Kamilla Westarp Zornhagen is a DVM who obtained her degree from The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen. She then pursued her PhD in comparative veterinary cancer research at the University of Copenhagen, with a focus on the tumor microenvironment. After completing her PhD, Kamilla joined Janine Erler’s lab at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen as a post-doctoral researcher in December 2017.

Since September 2018, Kamilla has been involved in a precision medicine program for patients with metastatic solid tumors led by Prof. Erler and Prof. Lassen. The team has developed a platform for growing patient-derived organoid cultures from biopsies taken from the metastases from cancer patients of various cancer types. These organoid cultures are utilized for drug screening with drugs selected based on kinase profiling of the biopsies performed by Kamilla using the Pamstation from PamGene and genomic profiling conducted at Rigshospitalet.

In addition, Kamilla has successfully grown some of the cancer organoids in immune suppressed mice as patient-derived xenografts. This allows for further investigation and testing of potential drug responses in vivo.

Together with collaborators Jérémy Ariey-Bonnet and Prof. Krister Wennerberg, Kamilla is currently involved in kinase profiling of neurospheres derived from glioblastoma patients using phosphotyrosine kinase (PTK) PamChip® on the Pamstation. The aim is to identify potential targets for treatments (WP5). Additionally, drug responses observed from ex vivo high-throughput drug screening on glioblastoma organoids (WP2) will be followed up by in vivo animal models. This involves injecting glioblastoma organoids into the brains of immune deficient mice and treating them with selected drugs to assess efficacy.

Research focus:

  • Precision medicine
  • Patient-derived Organoid (PDO) cultures
  • Kinase profiling
  • Drug screening
  • Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models

WP relation:

  • WP2 – Ex vivo high-throughput Drug screening – Prof. Krister Wennerberg
  • WP4 – Pre-clinical drug-testing in vivo model systems – Prof. Janine Erler
  • WP5 – Identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets – Prof. Krister Wennerberg

Associated researchers / supervisors

Prof. Janine Erler