Many of Explora’s oncology clients know Brandy Wilkinson, Ph.D., as our Vice President of Operations and Research. Brandy is responsible for managing the operations, research, and customer services teams that support our oncology clients’ research.

Brandy recently took time out of her busy schedule to talk about her responsibilities and how Explora makes a difference in preclinical oncology research.

Hi, Brandy. Can you tell us a little about your professional background?

Sure. I received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Florida State University, then moved to a postdoc in Alzheimer’s disease at Case Western Reserve University. I then spent a little over a decade in primarily preclinical oncology at several contract research organizations (CRO) before joining the Explora team in early 2019.

What first attracted you to oncology research?

It was the ability to see the research in which you’re engaged positively impact patient lives. My mother battled cancer three times with successively fewer options for treatment. I wanted to do something that helped find the next cure.

It seems like many people think of Explora as a provider of vivaria-related services. What does Explora do in relation to oncology?

You’re right. However, Explora also offers researchers several early-phase in vivo models to assist their oncology drug development efforts through our research services team. Our Research team can help design and perform in vivo studies on preclinical cancer models ranging from standard cell line xenografts to complex immuno-oncology models.

What else does Explora offer?

The Research team can supplement standard xenograft work with PK/PD studies, non-GLP exploratory toxicology, IVIS imaging, and à-la-carte technical services for our OnDemand and OnSite clients.

What can you tell us about the Explora staff’s experience in oncology?

Our principal scientist, Grishma Acharya, Ph.D., is also is a cancer biologist with nearly a decade of experience running preclinical efficacy studies, from basic small molecules to cell-based therapies. About half of all of our CRO studies are in xenograft models, and we can use our experience to help guide clients with their study designs.

How do you think Explora makes a difference in its clients’ oncological studies?

I think first and foremost, we have the ability to provide high-quality science while also being flexible and quick to initiate our clients’ timelines. Explora can initiate studies in as little as two weeks. That can make all the difference for time-strapped researchers. Clients in early-phase development don’t have the time to wait in the queue to get their research started. Another benefit we offer is the ability to invite our clients into our vivarium to either observe or, per the client’s preference, complete a particular procedure.

What’s the first thing you think clients should know before beginning an oncological study?

I think clients should know the question they are trying to answer with the model they choose. And they should have a good understanding of the limitations of the model they are using and what kind of valuable data can be obtained from it.

How can researchers who are considering an oncology study find out more about Explora’s services?

They should contact Explora BioLabs at to set up a call to review the proposed study design and discuss ways in which Explora could assist.

For more information regarding any of Explora BioLabs’ services, please contact Explora BioLabs:

(858) 768-2100

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