Hometown: San Diego, CA
Hobbies: Hiking, going to the beach, reading, and trying new food!
Lab: NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis under the direction of Daniel Holleran
Lab website: https://hollern.salk.edu/
What do you do/study?
Currently, I study the B cell response in a subtype of Breast
Cancer that is notably aggressive and has poor outcomes. In doing so, our lab leverages bioinformatics and immunology to design new way to control the B cell response in a favorable way to help patients have better immune recognition of their cancer cells. Additionally, I am actively researching novel connections between microorganisms (viruses and bacteria) and cancer development.
Why is it important?
Most cancer patients that are in advanced disease fail to respond to traditional immunotherapy options. Our research is important because it provides these patients more therapeutic options and a better chance of overall survival. B cells generate antibodies and can form memory cells that can protect us from infection and cancer. In instances where they are dysfunctional or not able to activate, we design therapies that help B cells function at their full potential to fight disease.
What piqued your interest in science?
From a young age, I’ve always loved science and knew I wanted to have a career that helped people’s health. As I got older and took more STEM classes and gained experience, I narrowed in on a particular field of interest. Overall, my interest was initiated by family members enduring various diseases that I wish I had more answers to in terms of how to solve them or make them at least feel better.
What do you like about being a scientist?
I love that everything I do at work is contributing to a greater cause of human health and bringing the scientific community one step closer or adding a small piece to a greater puzzle of solving disease. I also really enjoy learning how our incredible human immune systems can be tinkered with to make us stronger and smarter against pathogens or cancer. Lastly, a team effort is something that is paramount in science and discoveries. The collaborative environment is so uplifting.
What are 5 general vocabulary terms someone should know going into your field of science?
Adaptive and innate immunity, sequencing, metastasis, differential gene expression, receptor
What are 5 specific vocabulary terms someone should know about your research or profession?
Transgenic mice, immunology, bioinformatics, genome, cell signaling, oncogene