Hometown: Medina, Ohio
Undergraduate Institution: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has a great tradition of being national leaders in pediatric clinical care as well as conducting cutting edge research. The topics actively researched here range from understanding the molecular biology underlying basic developmental processes to developing novel treatments for pediatric cancers and diseases. The “bench-to-bedside” mentality coupled with a great reputation in molecular biology research was my main motivation for joining the MDB program. In comparison to other molecular and developmental biology programs, few match the number, diversity, and excellence in translational research found here at Children's. Actually, one of the hardest choices I had to make when joining the program was trying to narrow down the labs that I wanted to rotate in. The MDB program boasts a high number (90+) of outstanding labs and each has their own unique approach to address different aspects of development and disease.
I joined Dr. Tanya Kalin’s lab in which we focus on how Forkhead Box transcription factors contribute to various diseases and cancers. Currently, my work is focused on deciphering the oncogenic roles of FoxM1 and FoxF1. Since these transcription factors are aberrantly expressed in aggressive human lung adenocarcinomas, we have generated novel transgenic mouse models to study their role in promoting tumor cell proliferation and metastasis during lung carcinogenesis. This research includes a combination of in vivo and in vitro experiments to elucidate the downstream targets and molecular pathways activated by these transcription factors as a means to identify new therapeutic targets.
Beyond the research, the MDB program itself is structured in a way that ensures graduates will continue to be successful in whichever careers they pursue. The basic curriculum is supplemented with seminars with renowned speakers from across the country which helps gain exposure to other areas of research and is a great opportunity to network. Our program also offers Career Development Workshops in which we invite professionals from industry and nontraditional science jobs to introduce us to alternative careers we could pursue and develop the desired credentials for those careers.