Meet the Researchers

Jarushka Naidoo, MRCPI

Clinical/Translational Investigator

Class of 2019

Consultant medical oncologist at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland

Identifying novel biomarkers of response and toxicity to immunotherapy

Their Story

Precision Medicine and Lung Cancer

Just like people, no two lung cancer tumors are identical. In recent years, the most effective lung cancer research involves a technique known as precision medicine. Also referred to as personalized medicine, precision medicine tailors treatment to each patient based upon the particulars of their cancer. LCFA grant recipient Dr. Jarushka Naidoo sees lung cancer as the “poster child for precision medicine.”

From Actress to Oncologist Researching Precision Medicine

How many physicians do you know that, upon graduating from medical school, decide to move on to drama school to study Shakespearean Acting for the Stage? And, how many do you know who, in their spare time, teach pilates? Or, for that matter, spent much of their youth as a television personality in South Africa, their native country? Meet Dr. Jarushka Naidoo who, as you may have surmised, is just that doctor.

Of Indian descent, and born during Apartheid in South Africa, Dr. Naidoo dreamed not of being an oncologist, but an actress. An exceptional student, she was awarded a scholarship to attend medical school in Ireland – a path her own mother, a radiologist, had taken. This route of Indian women attending medical school in Ireland, was not entirely unheard of, it just had not been part of her plan.

Dr. Naidoo’s first rotation was oncology. She found it fascinating. With her interest piqued, and having been fortunate enough to have a truly inspiring mentor, she had found her niche.

“Oncology is multi-disciplinary and requires a broad skill set, including radiology, pathology, and diagnostics. I enjoyed the fact that you need to be an excellent communicator – so my acting came in handy – in order to explain complicated things in simple language to patients and their families.”

Grants Awarded

LCFA/IASLC/BMS Young Investigator Award

A recipient of LCFA’s 2019 LCFA/IASLC/BMS Young Investigator Award, Dr. Naidoo’s project focuses on immuno-oncology and aims to identify whether a patient’s gut microbiome is implicated in their ability to derive benefit, or develop toxicity, from immunotherapy in lung cancer.

About the LCFA-Funded Research

Immuno-oncology and Patient’s Gut Microbiome

Dr. Jarushka Naidoo is a clinical/translational investigator, specializing in immunotherapy for lung cancer, and immune-related toxicity. Dr. Naidoo’s research focus is on identifying novel biomarkers of response and toxicity to immunotherapy, and specifically for patients with lung cancer.