Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Extracellular matrix remodeling in breast to bone metastasis"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2011 - DURI
Research area(s):
Cancer Biology
Project Description:
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (excluding skin cancer) and is the second most deadly malignancy after lung cancer. One in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes. While survival rates for women with breast cancer have been steadily improving over the last decade, metastatic disease is still the leading cause of death from breast cancer, with 5-year survival rates for women with metastatic disease remaining below 20%. Bone is one of the most common sites of secondary spread of breast cancer; thus understanding the mechanism of cancer spread to the bones will allow us to prevent this hard-to-treat phase of the disease. The main goal of this project is to determine the role of matrix metalloproteinases in extracellular matrix remodeling, which allows breast cancer easy access to the bone environment. We will explore how preventing matrix remodeling may affect breast to bone metastasis.
Expected Student Contributions:
The intern will be responsible for an independent project (outlined above) and will be closely supervised by the PI. The intern will conduct all the experiments and will analyze and present the data at lab meetings and other on-campus and off-campus venues. The PI will assist with experimental design and execution, data analysis, and will guide the intern though the process of making and presenting both posters and talks.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Students with 3.3 GPA or higher at any level are welcome to apply. Completion of cell biology courses and labs is recommended, but not required. Some experience with mammalian tissue culture and SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis is a plus, but not required.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Kirshner, Julia
biological sciences

Student Supervisor

Mukti Parikh
Graduate student

Cooperating Faculty

Alyssa Panitch
Biomedical Engineering/Engineering