Deborah Caswell is a postdoctoral fellow at the Francis Crick Institute, co-mentored by Professor Charles Swanton and Professor Julian Downward. She did her PhD at Stanford University in Professor Monte Winslow’s laboratory, where she was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In Professor Winslow’s laboratory she studied the timing and mechanisms of lung cancer metastasis using Kras-mutant lung cancer mouse models, which resulted in two first author publications (Caswell et al. 2014 and Caswell et al 2018).
As a postdoctoral fellow Debbie has generated novel mouse models of lung cancer that more closely recapitulate the mutational heterogeneity observed in the TRACERx (Tracking Cancer Evolution through Therapy) study led by Professor Charles Swanton. To build these models, she incorporated an inducible human APOBEC3B (A3B) transgene into multiple EGFR-mutant lung cancer mouse models. Using these models, she discovered that A3B expression is detrimental to tumour initiation but contributes to resistance under tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. This manuscript is in revision at Nature and is available on BioRxiv (Caswell et al. 2022). During her time at the Crick Institute, she also successfully applied for an NC3Rs fellowship and NC3Rs Career Development Award. Deborah is planning to start her own laboratory studying the immune microenvironmental effects of APOBEC family members on normal lung epithelium, and their impact on tumour initiation and cancer vaccine efficacy.