The International Women's Day 2024 theme is Inspire Inclusion. Sadeka Nujhat, PhD researcher in Chemical Engineering and our Centre for Bioengineering & Biomedical Technologies, writes about how her research is making a difference for women.

woman presenting in lecture theatre with a screen behind her showing exosome isolation
Presenting my research at the Cancer Research at Bath (CR@B) event in 2023.

My research centres on developing a reliable screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. This empowers women populations by enabling early detection, crucial for improving survival rates in a disease often diagnosed at advanced stages due to the nonspecific symptoms. These include bloating, which can be vague and confused with other less harmful conditions.

Support and empowerment

Support in this research area has come through collaborative networks within the scientific community in conferences and workshops. Also, through meeting with ovarian cancer patients and experiencing the patients' point of view of ovarian cancers. This has further empowered and motivated me to contribute to researching women's health issues.

Positive change and challenges

Positive changes are evident with growing awareness of the nonspecific symptoms of ovarian cancer and of CA125's limitations (a biomarker often tested). This has prompted increased exploration of alternative biomarkers (such as exosomes).

microscopic image of exosomes
These tiny spherical particles, called exosomes, are the biomarkers we use for early detection of ovarian cancer.

However, challenges persist, including the complexity of ovarian cancer biology and the necessity for large-scale validation studies. Additionally, the integration of microfluidic devices in biomarker identification holds promise but requires addressing technological and implementation challenges for widespread impact.

International Women's Day message

On International Women's Day, I celebrate the collective efforts driving advancements in women's health research. Let's continue promoting inclusivity, diversity, and innovation, recognising the importance of research in improving healthcare outcomes for women and vulnerable communities. Together, we contribute to a future where early detection and effective screening methods empower individuals to lead healthier lives.

Posted in: Centre for Bioengineering & Biomedical Technologies, Department of Chemical Engineering, Research


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