Staff profile

Dr Rita Cha

Senior North West Cancer Research Lecturer

Email: r.cha@bangor.ac.uk

Location: Brambell, 3rd Floor, Room 414.2

Phone: 2865

Previous Positions

  • Group Leader, National Institute for Medical Research, MRC London

Other external positions currently held

  • Member of the North West Cancer Research (NWCR) Scientific Committee

Educational Background

  • BS, MIT; PhD MIT

Research interests

  • Cancer cell metabolism, mitochondrial function

Hobbies & External Interests

  • Reading, playing the piano, travelling

Why Bangor?

  • “Cancer cells show uncontrolled growth, reproducing themselves over and over again within the body. We are investigating how cancer cells make the building blocks necessary for generating a new cancer cell. Bangor University has a number of outstanding scientists working on various aspects of cancer biology”.

Previous areas of research and key findings

  • Previously, our research focused on genome instability, a main of cancer and birth defects. We identified that certain regions of the chromosomes, named “Replication Slow Zones (RSZs)”, are more likely break than others, thereby more likely to contribute to genome instability. Another area of research has been functions of ATM and ATR proteins. In humans, inactivation of ATM and ATR leads Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) and Seckle syndrome, respectively. They are progressive genetic disorders characterized by neuronal degeneration, cancer, microcephaly, growth retardation, and infertility. We identified two meiosis specific functions of ATM/ATR, providing mechanistic insight underlying infertility associated with A-T.

Practical applications/impact of findings to date

  • Our research is a basic fundamental research with a long term implication(s) in prevention and treatment of cancer, birth-defects, and metabolic disorders.

Outline current areas of research and potential practical applications/impact

  • Our current research focus is to understand the genetic and molecular bases of cancer cell metabolism. We hope to find a way to stop cancer cells reproducing themselves by preventing the production of the building blocks needed for new cancer cells.

Who funds/has funded your research?

  • Medical Research Council, North West Cancer Research, Bangor University

Facilities/Equipment/Labs that you use in your research:

  • Real time PCR, Singer ROTOR high throughput screen, FACS (Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting), Immuno-fluorescence microscopy.

Strengths of Bangor’s Research environment in your area

  • Experts working on interdependent topics all related to cancer, fostering a stimulating environment. Access to state of the art equipment.

Teaching

  • Current PhD student: Erik Waskiewicz
  • Four successful PhD supervisions (2007-2012).
  • Undergraduate Modules: MSE1017, MSE2021, MSE3013

Keywords

  • Metabolism, Cancer cell metabolism, ATM/ATR, Mec1/Tel1, Signal transduction, Mitochondria, Autophagy, dNTP, ATP

Publications

Link to full publications list/database/repository