When working on her doctoral thesis, Petz discovered that mesenchymal carcinoma cells demonstrate an increased production of laminin B1, which is attributable to the raised activity of a regulatory element of the RNA (IRES). The interaction of the trans-activating factor La with the IRES element was demonstrated as being responsible for this.
This discovery is to be seen in connection with the loss of contact between carcinoma cells and their mutation into the mesenchymal cell form (EMT) in tumour metastasis. EMT enables the migration of individual tumour cells into the surrounding tissue and thus promotes the spread of the carcinoma into distant tissue. The migration of the cancer cells in the tissue is controlled by laminin B1 amongst others.
Michaela Petz put the finishing touches to her dissertation in 2012 at the Institute for Cancer Research in Wolfgang Mikulits' team (University Department of Internal Medicine I). Now the Hertha Firnberg project will enable her to take her research further.
About the Hertha Firnberg Programme
The FWF offers outstandingly qualified female scientists aiming for a university career path the possibility of receiving funding for a total of six years within the framework of a two-stage career development programme. "Hertha Firnberg" is a post-doc programme aimed at promoting the careers of young female scientists. With these grants excellent young female research scientists will be enabled to realise their project within the framework of a place at the respective research institution funded for three years.
About Michaela Petz
Michaela Petz works at the Institute for Cancer Research at the MedUni Vienna; she wrote her dissertation in 2012. Title of the dissertation: “Regulation of translation initiation during cancer progression.” Between 2007 and 2011 she studied molecular biology at the University of Vienna, prior to that she had obtained the title of Graduate Engineer in Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences' campus in Vienna. From 2012 to 2013 she was a research assistant to Wolfgang Mikulits at the University Department of Internal Medicine I.