Name: Alexander Jeremiah

 

CURE Year:

2015-2017

Education and Degree(s):

B.S. Biology (expected May 2017)

B.A. Spanish (expected May 2017

Describe your current position:

Currently, I am a senior at Tufts University. On campus, I work in a biomedical engineering lab where I use silk to create 3D cell culture scaffolds. We use these scaffolds to create disease models for Parkinson’s. This allows us to look at cellular degeneration and metabolism in a system that is more representative of an actual brain rather than cells grown in a single 2D dish. While not directly related to cancer, I use many of the skills that I learned from my time in CURE to successfully design and execute experiments. 

CURE mentor(s):

Karen Cichowski, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

What was your CURE research question?:

Neurofibromatosis is an inherited cancer predisposition syndrome caused by genetic loss of the NF1 gene. NF1 patients have an 8-13% lifetime risk of developing loss of the wildtype NF1 gene that triggers RAS pathway activation to up-regulate cell growth. In our project, we attempted to inhibit this pathway in order to impede tumor growth, creating a new way to treat NF1 patients. 

Memorable CURE Experience:

My most memorable CURE experience was the academic year programming. Through this, I met a lot of remarkable researchers from all over the Longwood area. I also feel as though this experience was very transformative in helping me to think about science and my own personal career goals.

How did CURE help you get to where you are today?:

What makes CURE unique in the way it helps students is that it takes those with no background in science and gives them the tools to succeed. I was no different. When I began CURE, I had no laboratory experience and knew little about how to have a successful career in science. Through the scientific mentorship, career development, and skills workshops, CURE provided me with the confidence and tools to succeed. Without CURE, I would not have gotten involved with research at my university and would not have felt as prepared to pursue other summer internship opportunities afterwards.

What is your current five year plan?:

This coming summer, I am going to apply to medical school. I plan to use what I learned from my CURE experience to launch a career in pediatric oncology. While seeing patients, I hope to continue doing cancer research to investigate the intricate workings of cancer. 

Favorite Longwood/MGH area lunch item:

Fig and prosciutto pizza from Penguin Pizza. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, they have around 20 other amazing pizzas you should try during your time on Longwood.