Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"CPIP: Role of extracellular matrix in maintaining breast cancer stem cells."

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2013 - CPIP
Research area(s):
Cancer biology
Project Description:
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 the different components of the extracellular matrix in maintaining a population of cancer stem cells, which are responsible for initiating metastasis. Understanding which extracellular matrix proteins may be responsible for preserving the pool of breast cancer stem cells will allow us to design strategies to prevent differentiation of these cells into a growing metastatic lesion.
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 3.2 GPA or higher 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, 2 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Kirshner, Julia
biological sciences

Student Supervisor

Mukti Parikh
Graduate student

Cooperating Faculty

Ji-Xin Cheng