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Sara Maclellan

Graduate Student

SaraMaclellan   10th floor - 675 W.10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z1L3, Canada


  • BSc (Biology [Major], Honours), St. Francis Xavier University, 2011


Interdisciplinary Oncology, UBC

Research Interests

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The poor survival rates among lung cancer patients are due to the frequent diagnosis of late stage (i.e. inoperable) disease. Because early stage lung cancers are more treatable, the development of a screening program for high risk individuals could drastically increase the survival rates of lung cancer patients. To develop a screening program, reliable biomarkers that can easily be detected are required.

    MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. Some microRNAs have already been shown to be involved in many oncogenic processes and recent studies have shown that microRNAs are stably expressed in human serum and plasma samples. My current research focuses on examining the usefulness of microRNAs circulating in blood (serum or plasma) as biomarkers for either early detection of lung cancer or assessment of tumor progression likelihood. If such blood biomarkers can be identified, they will aid significantly in the diagnosis and management of lung cancer.


  • Botany Award: APICS Undergraduate Biology Conference (Halifax, NS, CAN - Mar 2011)
  • Entrance Scholarship: St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, NS, CAN - 2007-11)
  • Mary Gillis Award: St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, NS, CAN - 2007)