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Christina M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Wisconsin - Madison

Expertise

Cancer biology, molecular biology, drug resistance mechanisms, immunology

Bio

Hello! I (she/her/hers) am a cancer biologist and recently graduated PhD student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cancer Biology program working on the dysregulation of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway involved in multiple myeloma drug resistance and cell survival. The complicated and evolving nature of cancer cells, as well as their host environment, has always been a curiosity to me - what factors do malignant cells need to be successful masters of disguise, and are other neighboring cells accessories in this ploy? I received my B.S. in biochemistry from Northeastern University. In my undergraduate lab, I worked on dissecting mechanisms by which intermittent hypoxia, involved in obstructive sleep apnea, potentiates inflammation and fibrosis in patients with fatty liver disease. I believe in the importance of communicating science effectively with mentees in a digestible and interesting way to give others the opportunity to learn and ask questions. When I am not tinkering with experiments in lab or mentoring students, I am either running, lead climbing at the state park, painting, or cooking things that I saw on a Food Network challenge.

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.

How do neighbors to cancer cells become accomplices in cancer progression?

When we think of our immune system and our microenvironment, we think of cancer cells invading the space (through dissemination). We don't often consider that they recruit other cells to help them continue to grow and divide. How are cancer cells able to influence other cells to be accomplices and disrupt the body's normal regulatory functions? The goal of this project is for students to form hypothesis on ways to target cancer cells by focusing on the environment around them, their neighboring cells, and the proteins that cancer cells may use to continue to grow. Students will conduct guided research of their own and write a report, article, or oral presentation on what we can target to treat certain cancers. By reading academic papers and having discussions, students will learn fundamental principles about cellular biology, molecular signaling, cancer progression, how to design experiments and ask critical questions, and how to creatively apply these hypotheses and experiments into real-world treatment scenarios. The proposed projects will help students feel more confident in their abilities to problem solve at a collegiate level for pre-medical or pre-graduate/laboratory research in the future.

Languages I know

Cantonese

Teaching experience

Previously, I have been a science fair project leader for middle school students in Adult Role Models in Science (ARMS) organized by the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. I have also tutored biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, cancer biology, and cell biology subjects in other online platforms to students in college and graduate school. I currently have an undergraduate student mentee who I supervise in an independent project related to my own research in lab, and I have helped her win two university scholarships to fund her time and the resources for this independent research project.

Credentials

Education

Northeastern University
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Biochemistry
University of Wisconsin - Madison
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Cancer Biology

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