Cancer Personal Statement

Decent Essays

I was deeply touched when my grandfather was diagnosed with widespread colon cancer several years ago. Being naïve at the time, I thought “why is cancer so bad, can’t it be cured just like the flu?” From my Biology and Genetics courses, I realized that cancer was a complex problem that was not fully understood, despite many advances. To my surprise, I found that cancer was the second leading cause of death according to the CDC website. This sobering statistic spiked my curiosity and led me deeper into the topic. I became intrigued by cellular pathways and how missteps in the pathways could result in cancer. It also struck me that most discoveries were confined to labs and research papers without ever reaching patients. I decided to become a scientist and do my part to advance the understanding of …show more content…

Alan Diamond’s laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago as an intern. My research focused on the effect of DNA variations and selenium supplementation on the expression of the antioxidant, Glutathione Peroxidase 1 (GPx-1). By western blot analysis, I found that selenium, a nutritional supplement, increased GPx-1 expression in human-derived cell lines. In addition, using the Seahorse XF Analyzer, I determined that GPx-1 induction led to a decreased rate of glycolysis. The Seahorse simultaneously measures oxygen consumption and changes in acidity. Particularly amazing to me was the ability of the instrument to analyze and collect data on living and breathing cells in real time. Interestingly, the decreased rate of glycolysis upon GPx-1 induction correlated with a reduced expression of Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH), a key enzyme upregulated in cancer. The results suggest that increased GPx-1 expression and consequent reduction in glycolysis may help to slow cancer cell growth. The next steps would be to extend the findings to animal models. I believe this work may have translational applications for treating patients with

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