Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Arya Nikjoo Rose Hills

Studying Uptake Patterns of a Glycosaminoglycan into Epithelial Cells in Physiologically-Relevant Culture Models

Elevated accumulation of glycosaminoglycans in tumor microenvironments of many advanced cancers, including breast cancers, has been associated with poor patient prognosis. Our laboratory has long been developing in vitro physiologically-relevant culture models that provide epithelial cells with an in vivo-like microenvironment, which is optimal to bridge the gaps between epithelial monolayer cultures and animal models. We have also developed glycosaminoglycan-based probes for identifying invasive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. My project characterizes uptake patterns of these probes into a panel of normal and malignant epithelial cell lines using both two- and three-dimensional culture models. I will study probe uptake at the cellular level by techniques such as fluorescent/time-lapse microscopy and quantitative image analysis. This investigation may lead to the development of clinically-relevant assays for more effective detection of aggressive breast cancers.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank The Rose Hills Foundation for its generous support. This fellowship means that I do not have to work part-time elsewhere to pay for my summer expenses in Berkeley, and I now can dedicate more time to research and can pursue a scientific project. I am excited about this work and am delighted to be able to direct my full attention to the topic of my interest. I believe this opportunity will provide me with new skills and a well-rounded training that I need for my future career as a clinician and scientist. Thank you again!
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Mina Bissell, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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