Hasini Jayatilaka

Cancer fighter
Hasini Jayatilaka discovered a novel mechanism that causes cancer cells to break away from tumors and metastasize.

Why you should listen

Hasini Jayatilaka is postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University focused on elucidating mechanisms that govern relapse in childhood cancers, particularly B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) and neuroblastoma.

BCP-ALL is a common childhood malignancy that has seen dramatic improvements in survival using current treatment regimens. However, relapse is the most frequent cause of cancer-related death among children with BCP-ALL. Jayatilaka is studying the activation of pro-survival and drug resistance mechanisms in a subset of the BCP-ALL population that allow tumor cells to persist following treatment and cause relapse.

Jayatilaka is currently conducting research on understanding the complex pathways that govern metastasis, the spread of cancer, which is responsible for 90% of cancer related deaths. She recently discovered a new signaling pathway that controls metastasis and showed that by blocking the pathway, the spread of cancer can be slowed down.

Jayatilaka grew up in Sri Lanka and pursued her BS and PhD in Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Hasini Jayatilaka’s TED talk