First Year Lab Rotations (BSP Program):
Rotation 1: Dennis Roop Lab (2008): I investigated microRNA expression during epidermal differentiation, focusing on microRNAs that may be involved in keratinocyte stem cell dynamics.
Rotation 2: Richard Davis Lab (2009): I conducted affinity purification of spliced leader binding proteins in a common parasitic worm. I subsequently analyzed purified proteins via mass spectrometry.
Rotation 3: Lynne Bemis Lab (2009): I investigated the regulation of lipocalin 2, which is a potential tumor suppressor that fluctuates according to pregnancy-associated breast cancer risk. Specifically, I focused on the activities of several microRNAs on this protein.
Thesis Advisor: Dennis Roop
There is a great deal of evidence that the immune system plays a crucial role in preventing tumor formation. Most strikingly, patients taking immunosuppressant drugs have a 65-250 fold greater risk of developing multiple aggressive squamous cell carcinomas, the second most common skin cancer in the United States. I am currently investigating the mechanisms employed by skin cancers that allow them to avoid the immune response in immunocompetent patients. I am particularly interested in the unique immune-evasive phenotypes of cancer propagating cells (commonly referred to as cancer stem cells).
Society of Investigative Dermatology 2010 meeting:
Comprehensive Exam Presentation, November 8, 2010:
"Identification of Rare Skin Cancer Stem Cells Using a Syngeneic Mouse Model"
"The Immunomodulatory Properties of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cancer-initiating Cells"
Honors and Awards:
Awarded Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31)
Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Undergraduate Research: Using planarian flatworms as a novel model, I conducted research in stem cells and regeneration under the guidance of Phil Newmark for 3 y
Other Undergraduate Activities: The Illini Waterski Team
After B.S. degree and prior to joining the CSD Graduate Program:
I worked for 2 years as a technician for Brian Freeman at the University of Illinois. I studied the role of molecular chaperones in encouraging the dynamics of transcriptional complex formation and breakdown.
Why did you decide to pursue a PhD in Cell Biology, Stem Cells & Development?
For the Stem Cells.
Why did you choose CU's Anschutz Medical Campus?
I like the attitude of the faculty here, the camaraderie, the atmosphere, and the specific research opportunities.
What has been most suprising to you since you started graduate school?
The active lifestyle.
Where did you grow up?
When did you start the graduate program at Anschutz Medical Campus?
What do you do for fun?
I play soccer, camp, hike, and backcountry snowboard.
What do you like about living in Colorado?
The climate, the mountains, Denver, the people.
What do you like about the Anschutz Medical Campus?
It’s all very new and constantly growing. It’s also well-organized and easy to navigate.