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  • Kateryna Kratzer, BSc Hons.


Dr. Graham Dellaire

Program of Study:

PhD, Pathology

Project Title:

The relationship between homologous recombination and chemotherapy sensitivity

Research Summary:

Chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin target DNA in cancer cells, but some cancers are resistant due to highly efficient DNA repair mechanisms. Enzymes called translesion synthesis (TLS) polymerases enhance DNA repair efficiency. We know that some types of breast cancer have high levels of TLS polymerases, and that some of these polymerases are regulated by tumour suppressor genes. We will therefore investigate how these tumour suppressor genes regulate TLS polymerases and how changes in the levels of TLS polymerases affects cisplatin resistance in breast cancer. Ultimately, determining the role of TLS polymerases in cisplatin sensitivity may reveal potential new targets to treat chemotherapy-resistant breast cancers.

Scholarships and/or Awards:

  • Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP) Traineeship Award 2021
  • Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine-Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
  • 2020 Genomics in Medicine Studentship
  • Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Graduate Scholarship
  • Undergraduate Poster Competition 1st Place in Natural Sciences
  • Manitoba Undergraduate Healthcare Symposium Poster Competition Peoples Choice
  • UMSU Scholarship for Excellence in Academic Achievement
  • Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Award

Career Aspirations:

After completing my graduate studies, I plan to pursue a career in the private sector. The field of genetics is moving ahead at an unprecedented pace due to technologies such as CRISPR. My goal is to be part of a biotechnology company that uses these exciting genetic technologies to tackle health challenges and advance our knowledge of the genome.      


Dalhousie University


Kratzer K*, Getz L*, Peterlini T, Masson J-Y, Dellaire G (2020) The dark matter of gene therapy: Overlooked technical and ethical barriers to clinical application. In review Human Genetics. *co-first authors

Kratzer K, van der Marel A, Garroway C, López-Darias M, Petersen S, Waterman J (2020) Evidence for an extreme founding effect in a highly successful invasive species. Preprint. DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.04.236695.

Birse K*, Kratzer K*, Farr Zuend C, Mutch S, Noël-Romas L, Lamont A, Abou M, Jalil E, Veloso V, Grinsztejn B, Khalili Friedman R, Broliden K, Bradley F, Poliquin V, Li F, Yanavich C, Burgener A, Aldrovandi G (2020) The neovaginal microbiome of transgender women post-gender reassignment surgery. Microbiome 8(61).
DOI: 10.1186/s40168-020-00804-1. *co-first authors

Kratzer K (2018) The genomic history of elephants supports the existence of a third modern species and has important implications for conservation. Proceedings of Manitoba's Undergraduate Science and Engineering Research 4(1): 87-89.
DOI: 10.5203/pmuser.201841625.

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