Cassandra Churchill

Doctoral Scholarship and Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Graduate Prize

University of Alberta

In my PhD research, I focus on cancer chemotherapies that target the tubulin protein and interfere with the dynamical behaviour of this protein. Since tubulin plays a role in cell division, the premise is that stopping cell division will stop cancer cell growth.

The development of new drugs is essential to the management of cancer. As a computational chemist, I use principles of classical and quantum mechanics with computers to calculate the structures and properties of molecules. With these methods, interactions between the drugs and the tubulin protein can be understood. Using this information, new drug candidates can be designed that are more effective, have fewer side effects and overcome drug resistances. Computer-aided drug design is an important tool in pharmaceutical development that decreases financial costs and accelerates the drug design process compared to traditional experiments. I hope that my research can be used to advance the status of cancer chemotherapies in Canada.

What it means to be a Killam Laureate
The acknowledgement of my work by the Killam Trust as being representative of the Canadian scientific and scholastic achievements outlined by Izaak and Dorothy Killam is a true honour. I am honoured and humbled to be named a Killam Scholar, particularly among the other talented doctoral recipients.

How Killam funding has benefited you
Funding from the prestigious Killam Trust will allow me to conduct world-class research at the University of Alberta, and contribute to advancements in my field. I will be able to focus my attention on research. Killam funding also allows me the freedom to develop my own research and pursue a project that is of interest to me.

Why you chose the University of Alberta
I chose to pursue my PhD at the University of Alberta due to its reputation for excellence as one of the top universities in Canada. Furthermore, the multidisciplinary nature of my research benefits from the collaborative spirit that permeates this institution. U of A also has many funding opportunities available to support graduate work, exemplified by the support of the Killam Trust.


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