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6-week course

All Pods / Cancer

Cells Gone Rogue: Understanding the Biology of Cancer and potential treatments

This Pod will meet once per week for 6 weeks, starting on July 31, 2024 at 8:00pm EDT/5:00pm PDT, with the last session being Wednesday September 4, 2024.

By enrolling you confirm this time works for you.

Date and time

Wednesday, 8:00pm EDT/5:00pm PDT

Group size

3-6 students


A published 1-3 page article or report in a pre-print research archive



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Duke University PhD candidate in Biochemistry

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Cells Gone Rogue: Understanding the Biology of Cancer and potential treatments

Cancer, one of the leading causes of death globally, can arise due to an organism’s inability to replicate its genomic DNA perfectly. But what occurs inside a cell to allow these errors in replication to occur? In this pod, students interested in medicine, biology, and genetics will gain a basic understanding of cancer biology; such as how intrinsic and extrinsic factors that cause damage DNA can lead to the development of cancer, different ways of treating cancer, and how cancer can become resistant to treatment and spread around the body. Each student will explore and write a short paper about a particular treatment method used to treat a cancer of their choosing, incorporating at least two primary research papers into their review. In addition to learning about basic cancer biology, students will learn the fundamentals of reading and writing research papers and communicating science to others.



Duke University PhD candidate

Hello! I am a Biochemistry PhD candidate at Duke University School of Medicine studying how to overcome hormone resistance in prostate cancer by using small molecule drugs to inhibit DNA tolerance pathways. My work is at the intersection of cancer biology, cell biology structural biology, and structure aided drug-design. I grew up near Baltimore, Maryland and was very passionate about pursuing medicine. It was not until my first laboratory-based research experience in college that I realized I love research. I am very passionate about translational research that can aid in improving precision medicine and benefit patient health. Outside of the lab, I love outdoor activities like pickleball, cycling, and disc golf, along with cooking and playing board games.

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Cells Gone Rogue: Understanding the Biology of Cancer and potential treatments

Week by week curriculum

Week 1

What is cancer? We will discuss the basics behind what cancer is and will broadly review the hallmarks of cancer. Lastly, we will cover myths and truths about cancer.

Week 2

What is the cell cycle? In this session we will cover the stages of the cell cycle, cell cycle checkpoints and discuss how issues with checkpoints can lead to uncontrolled cell division.

Week 3

Every cell has their DNA replicated perfectly, right? In this session we will cover central dogma of biology and the steps to replicate DNA, how mutations arise, and mutations are handled by cellular machinery.

Week 4

How can cancer become resistant to treatment and metastasize? In this session we will DNA damage repair and tolerance pathways and how uncontrolled replication can lead to metastasis and the cancer spreading to other organs.

Week 5

What are common treatment methods for cancer? In this session we will discuss treatment methods for cancers, their limitations, and how precision medicine can reshape the future of treating cancer.

Week 6

How is artificial intelligence (AI) changing the drug treatment landscape? In this session we will discuss the overall stages of drug development and how they go through clinical trials before being FDA approved. We will tie in drugs that target DNA replication and cell cycle checkpoints and discuss how AI is changing the drug-design landscape.