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Carly W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Duke University


Cancer Biology, Biochemistry, Structural Biology, and Cell culture


Carly’s research focuses on cancer biology and understanding a DNA damage tolerance pathway heavily utilized by cancer cells after taking chemotherapeutics. As a mentor, she is excited to instill a passion for science in her mentees and to get them to think outside of the box for their projects. Carly received her undergraduate degree from UMBC and lived in Maryland her entire life up until graduate school. She loves to cook, cycle, play board games and is slowly developing a green thumb!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Science Communication about Cancer

While there are many factors predisposing a person to getting cancer, it is important to share the ways we can work to control being exposed to certain risk factors. I would love to help my students explore these risk factors to prepare a review article or presentation at their high school to educate the next generation about how limiting factors such as sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol use, and getting genetic testing early if your family has a history of cancer (just to name a few) can decrease your risks on getting certain cancers. Through this project my students will learn how to literature search, how to read academic journals and can even talk to local physicians and scientists studying cancer to get first-hand knowledge.

Biomarker Identification of Cancer Cells

There are many different pathways cancer cells can upregulate to continue replicating as fast as possible and to develop resistance bypass to treatment. Certain genetic mutations can predispose a person to not having a response to a particular chemotherapeutic or anti-cancer agent. This project would dive into genetic mutations that people have and how that would affect their current cancer treatment plan. Students would develop a deep understanding about the fundamental aspects of what makes a cancer cell and how there can be so many resistant cancers out there.

Thinking Outside the Box to Treat Cancer

There are so many ways now to treat cancer, but not all of them work, making there a constant need to develop new cancer therapies. In this project, students will have the ability to look for a new drug target and work through the entire process from identification of drug target, solving the structure of the drug with its target, and developing experiments to learn how this drug works at a mechanistic level. Students will have the chance to write a paper detailing their new discovery.

Teaching experience

I was an LA and TA and supplemental instructor as an undergraduate. I have also taught and mentored 2 undergraduates through my independent research project in my structural biology lab.


Work experience

HHMI at UMBC (2015 - 2019)
Research Assistant
UMBC (2016 - 2017)
UMBC (2015 - 2017)
Supplemental Instructor


University of Maryland, Baltimore County
BA Bachelor of Arts (2017)
Biology and Chemistry
Duke University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Cancer Biology

Completed Projects

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