Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"CPIP: Canine Glioma Cancer Stem Cells as a New Translational Cancer Model"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2011 - CPIP
Research area(s):
cancer biology, neuroscience, bioengineering
Project Description:
Gliomas are common malignant brain tumors of both humans and dogs. The highest grade is Glioblastoma (GBM), and despite aggressive therapy this tumor is essentially terminal in every case. Attempts to identify improved treatments for gliomas such as GBM have typically involved evaluating their effect after implanting brain tumors into rodents; however, the use of such artificial models has been fraught with difficulties and improved methods for predicting the best treatment in human patients are in critical need. Our overall objective is to use spontaneously occurring gliomas in pet dogs to evaluate therapies, in a research project that will provide the latest therapies to our individual patients, and provide vital information for human and canine patients. One reason that gliomas, the bulk of which are tumor cells sensitive to radiation, may recur after therapy is the presence of cancer stem-like cells (CSC). Tiny numbers of these cells may be responsible for initially populating the mass with tumor cells, and then surviving therapy and repopulating the tumor afterwards. Recent study has shown that canine GBM also contains such cells, and that they mimic the characteristics of the human CSC.
Expected Student Contributions:
We are using both engineered biosensors and proteomic analysis to functionally identify and characterize cell populations at different stages of maturity and differentiation. The DURI student may contribute to the project in one of 3 ways: 1) analysis of proteomic data using bioinformatic software, 2) building and using biosensors to examine metabolism and neurotransmitter signaling in the cells; 3) characterizing cell growth properties under different microenvironment conditions. The choice will depend on the students skills and interest. A graduate student mentor will be assigned depending on which area is selected.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
prefer GPA > 3.2 open to a wide range of majors including but not limited to: biological engineering, biology, biochemistry, biomedical engineering hours are flexible,
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Rickus, Jenna
agricultural and biological engineering

Student Supervisor

Jenna Rickus
Assoc Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Kari Clase
R. Tim Bentley
Veterinary Medicine