Imaging Human Breast Tumours in Different Species: How Human Are They?


  • Gabrielle M. Siegers University of Alberta
  • Julia Schüler Charles River Discovery Research Services
  • Hon Leong Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
  • Lynne-Marie Postovit University of Alberta




In a gedankenexperiment, we pose the philosophical question as to whether human breast cancer cells or tissues can still be considered human after transplantation into another species. Alongside medical research images illustrating xenotransplantation, we provide descriptions of how tissues were prepared for imaging. In addition, we discuss how such models enable further understanding of cancer and provide invaluable tools for testing new therapies.

Author Biographies

Gabrielle M. Siegers, University of Alberta

Gabrielle M. Siegers obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and German (University of Guelph), a Master of Arts in German (Queen's University) and a PhD in Molecular Immunology (Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology, University of Freiburg, Germany). Gabrielle trained at the Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto), Robarts Research Institute and Western University (London, ON). Her research on gamma delta T cell immunotherapy for cancer includes studies in leukemia, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, breast and ovarian cancer. Gabrielle has given invited talks at scientific meetings in Canada, the United States and Germany. She is currently a research associate at the University of Alberta.

Julia Schüler, Charles River Discovery Research Services

Julia Schüler obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Freie Unversität Berlin (Germany), interning at the Tierspital Zürich (Switzerland). Julia then joined Prof. Dr. Heiner Fiebig (founder, Oncotest GmbH) at the Klinik für Tumorbiologie (Freiburg, Germany), developing patient derived xenograft models in immunocompromised mice. After receiving her PhD (University of Berlin, 1999), Julia studied innate immunology as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg. She re-joined Oncotest, now Charles River Discovery Research Services, in 2002, holding leading positions in in vivo contract research, and research and development. Julia is now a Research Director.

Hon Leong, Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)

Hon Leong obtained a BSc in Biological Sciences and Business (University of Alberta), followed by MSc and PhD degrees at the University of British Columbia. Hon pursued post-doctoral studies at the London Regional Cancer Centre and Western University (London, ON). Hon has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Prostate Cancer Canada/Movember Rising Star award (2013). Hon is an Associate Professor at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA) in the Departments of Urology, Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. His laboratory is focused on cancer research in which insights developed in the lab are translated to clinical practice.

Lynne-Marie Postovit, University of Alberta

Lynne-Marie Postovit earned her Honours BSc (Life Sciences) and PhD (Anatomy and Cell Biology) from Queen’s University (Kingston, ON). After postdoctoral studies in Cancer Biology and Epigenomics (Northwestern University, Chicago, USA), Lynne became an Assistant Professor in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University (London, ON). Lynne is now a Full Professor at the University of Alberta, where she holds multiple Oncology research chairs and co-directs the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta. Lynne has received multiple prestigious awards, including the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New Investigator Award; in 2016 she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada.




How to Cite

Siegers, G. M., Schüler, J., Leong, H., & Postovit, L.-M. (2020). Imaging Human Breast Tumours in Different Species: How Human Are They?. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 11(1), 107–110.