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Connor D

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Princeton University

Expertise

'projects that explore correlates in cancer cell line/clinical cancer databases', reviews of biotechnology, projects that explore treatments of neurological disorders, projects involving scientific outreach/public education, broad topics related to molecular biology, genetics, stem cells, neuroscience, immunology

Bio

As a Ph.D. student studying the molecular biology of neuroimmunology, I approach my research with a fervor for interdisciplinary perspectives. My research and training cover topics in biology, neuroscience, immunology, and bioinformatics. My interests span basic, translational, and clinical research, as I emphasize the importance of both smaller details such as molecular players and larger phenotypes such as disease. I am specifically passionate about using molecular biology as a tool to understand neuroscience, immunology, and cancer. Outside of science and teaching, I am a baseball enthusiast, having played the sport most of my life. I also enjoy exploring trails and hiking paths with my dog, Bailey. He is a Yorkshire Terrier but never seems to get tired. He will sometimes join me to watch baseball, but he is not as big of a fan of that.

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.

Exploring the correlates of pancreatic cancer survival in cancer genomic data

Using openly-available cancer genomic data from cBioPortal, it is possible to explore variables that may be correlated with survival in retrospective clinical cancer patient data. Possible variables to explore include gene expression, gene mutation, fraction genome altered, and copy number alterations. It will also be interesting to see the interaction of these variables with cancer stage, age, radiation therapy status, and more. Students may formulate a final manuscript or presentation to share their findings. Students will learn how to use cBioPortal, a massive database of cancer genomics and patient data, while learning about cancer, genetics, statistics, data mining, and more.

A review of CRISPR as a technology

This project will aim to create a review of CRISPR in terms of its scientific history, its applications, its evolution as a technology, and the technology that has branched from it. The final product would be a written review article intended to serve as a resource for all-things-CRISPR, its possible future directions, and possible drawbacks and improvements that may come with the technology.

Coding skills

Python, R, HTML

Teaching experience

I was a teaching assistant for four semesters during my undergraduate studies. I taught statistics (2X), physics (mechanics), and biology (the organism). During these assistantships, I led small group sessions related to course material along with weekly review sessions as a classroom-style teacher. I also spent time volunteering as a teacher for X-Cel Education, an adult learning center where I taught math, psychology, social studies, and more as a hybrid 1-1/classrooom-style teacher. I also spent a summer as a Mathnasium teacher instructing small groups of students aged from 6-16 using a personalized curriculum. Outside of these core experiences, I have spent time (20 hours) as a private SAT/AP teacher and as a science fellow teaching laboratory methods at an elementary school.

Credentials

Work experience

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (2018 - 2020)
Research Technician
Williams College (2015 - 2018)
Teaching Assistant
Boston Children's Hospital (2017 - 2017)
Research Intern
Yale Medical School (2016 - 2016)
Research Intern

Education

Williams College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2018)
Biology and Psychology
Princeton University
MA Master of Arts (2022)
Molecular Biology
Princeton University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Molecular Biology

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