Shafi Khan: My Next Great Impossible

Shafi Khan

Research scientist Shafi Ullah Khan is using AI to improve breast cancer treatment – he told us how his having ‘crazy ideas’ supported motivates him to keep going.

I am working on ways to combat treatment resistance in breast cancer. Various therapeutic options are available for the treatment of breast cancer but in the majority of treated cases, patients relapse due to resistance acquired by the cancer cells.

“I am working on GPER-1 to target breast cancer beyond acquired resistance”

I am working on the target protein GPER-1 (G protein-coupled estrogen receptor-1) to try and treat breast cancer beyond the point it acquires resistance. To achieve the best possible result, I am using computational chemistry to find a druggable candidate.

“We will eventually find better treatments for breast cancer”

The next step in my process is synthesis of the most promising candidates. Then I try to test these compounds in GPER-1-specific cell lines. GPER-1 shows overexpression in breast cancer resistance and I believe that by targeting it, we will eventually find better treatments for breast cancer.


Q: What kind of mindset do you need to achieve the Next Great Impossible?

A: I am inspired by the fearless support of my supervisor, Dr. Thet Thet Htar - she supports every crazy idea I have and boosts my motivation and inspiration.