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APEC-Australia Women in Research
Fellowship 2023
Dr Karla Josefina Santacruz Gomez
Karla Josefina Santacruz Gomez.jpg

Home Economy: Mexico

Host Institution: RMIT University


Project Title: Employing SiO2@Au-Fe3O4-DOX nanoparticles to evaluate their potential for inducing hyperthermia to damage cancer cells and simultaneously releasing doxorubicin to enhance therapeutic outcomes in ovarian cancer.



Project Outline:

Ovarian cancer is a global health crisis that affects hundreds of thousands of women each year. It is characterized by its high incidence, significant mortality, and challenges in both early detection and treatment. This project aims to explore the potential of SiO2@Au-Fe3O4-DOX nanostructures to induce hyperthermia for damaging cancer cells and simultaneously releasing doxorubicin, thereby amplifying therapeutic benefits.

Furthermore, this nanocomposite possesses the capability to enhance the Raman spectroscopy signal (SERS effect), serving a dual purpose. Firstly, it enables the monitoring of cellular or tissue damage and health status. Secondly, it facilitates early detection through the identification of ovarian cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles in biological fluids. These groundbreaking applications can be seamlessly integrated into the treatment protocol, streamlining the detection and real-time monitoring of disease progression and prognosis.

Reasons for applying for fellowship: Applying for the APEC-Australia Women in Research Fellowship for an ovarian cancer project perfectly aligns with my passion for research, commitment to gender equity, and my dedication to positively impacting women's health. While my previous research experience has centered on in vitro theranostics of breast cancer, this fellowship presents a unique platform to propel my career by elevating my experiments to the critical pre-clinical research phase. Furthermore, it grants me the opportunity to actively contribute to the global fight against cancers that affect women, such as breast and ovarian cancer. I am not only enthusiastic about seizing this opportunity but also committed to expanding my international collaboration network.


Past Achievements:

Karla Santacruz graduated in Chemical Biology in 2007 from the University of Sonora in Mexico. She received a specialization in Immunohematology and a master’s degree in health sciences. In 2013, she obtained a PhD from the Centro de Investigación de Materiales Avanzados and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. In 2015, she performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Diego.

She works as a full-time professor at the Universidad de Sonora in Mexico. Additionally, she holds key leadership roles, including her participation in the Women in STEM mentoring programm supported by the British Council. Additionally, she leads as the President of the Research Ethics Committee at the Universidad de Sonora, Coordinates Academic Networking and professional practice, and the Physics Departmental Board.

Her research interests are focused on Radiobiology and nanobiomedicine, focusing the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for breast cancer detection and treatment.

She serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and has authored numerous publications. She is an active speaker at conferences in the fields of nanomaterials, physics, and biology. Furthermore, she has successfully supervised undergraduate, master's, and doctoral theses. In 2017, she and her research group earned the title of "Distinguished Research Group" at the Universidad de Sonora. In recognition of her exceptional achievements, she was honored with an honoris causa doctorate from the International Organization for Inclusive Education in 2022, and she is Delegate Representative for Mexico in the European Biotechnology Thematic Network since 2023.

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