Undergraduate Research & Scholarships


Understanding How Solid-Phase Ligands Influence MET

Metastasis, responsible for >90 percent of cancer-related deaths, is a highly complex process that involves the migration of tumorigenic cells from the primary tumor to the secondary, distant site. Cells face a rigorous journey, from invasion into the surrounding tissue, intravasation into the surrounding blood vessels/lymphatic system, survival through the external system, extravasation at the secondary site, and eventual colonization. To assist in this process, tumor cells can undergo phenotypic transformations. Cancer cells hijack canonical (native) developmental pathways, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) in order to gain phenotypic traits that are amenable to this metastatic process. My project will explore MET using triple negative breast cancer to model. I will employ a novel lithographic platform called high-throughput DNA-directed patterning (htDNA-dp) that enables spatial and temporal control of cells, ligands, and other biological species with high fidelity to explore various factors related to a number of ligands, recording how they each influence phenotypic change.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for giving me the resources to participate in this project. Undergraduate research is very underfunded, and it is difficult to find positions without worrying about finances. This opportunity is only available because of your generosity, and I plan to take advantage of it to the fullest.
Profile image of Chris Yi
Major: MCB and Data Science
Mentor: Sean Kitayama
Sponsor: Johnson Fund
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