How/Why Research? I was inspired to conduct research in the area of immunology due to my brother’s severe allergic reactions and history of cancer in my family. Thus, I applied to a magnet STEM high school (Academy of Science) and conducted a two-year project focused on brain cancer research and was introduced to cancer immunotherapies at an NIH summer internship program in the Pediatric Oncology lab.
Research Experience: My 2-year research project at the Academy of Science focused on testing natural compounds on a rat gliosarcoma cancer cell line and blood brain barrier organoid model. Using natural therapies would benefit patients with brain cancer as it could shrink tumor size for easy removal during surgery. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to work at the Pediatric Oncology lab at the National Institutes of Health, where the research was focused on using CAR T-cell cancer immunotherapy, genetically engineered immune cells, to attack acute lymphocytic leukemia. As a part of the Milner Lab, we are using plasmid DNA and PCR technology to enhance T-cell immunotherapies against cancers such as breast cancer. This type of therapy would be beneficial because it is specific to each kind of patient as it involves using their own immune cells and re-engineering them to increase efficiency in attacking cancers.
Student Organizations/Clubs: GlobeMed, CPALS, Tar Heel Raas dance team, Sangam.
Random Fun Fact: I can do a pretty good British/Australian accent.