Graduate Students Win Women In STEM Travel Award

Akshita BhattDuquesne's Women in STEM program recently announced the winners of its second round of travel awards. Among the award recipients was Akshita Bhatt, a graduate student and teaching assistant studying pharmacology in Dr. Jane E. Cavanaugh's lab in the Duquesne University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Bhatt will use the award to help cover the costs of attending the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in San Diego this April where results of her ongoing cancer research will be presented in a poster titled Targeting the ERK5 and ERK1/2 pathways simultaneously induces mesenchymal to epithelial transition in TNBC.

"The overall goal of our research is to understand the role of MAPK signaling pathways in the regulation of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and drug resistance in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)," Bhatt said. "Cancer cells that have a mesenchymal phenotype are highly metastatic and resistant to chemotherapy. Using novel pharmacological inhibitors and molecular tools, we are examining the effect of targeting the MEK5-ERK5 and MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathways on mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET), the reverse of EMT. I aspire to apply our current and future findings in a clinical setting to positively impact patient health. Finally, I would like to thank the Cavanaugh lab and faculty members at Duquesne for their wonderful support in all my academic and research endeavors."

The awards program provides important opportunities for female students, postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty in STEM to present their research in regional, national and international forums and to network with scholars from around the world. Research can be in any STEM area, including biology, biomedical engineering, information systems, chemistry, computer science, education, environmental science, forensic science, health sciences, mathematics, nursing, pharmaceutical science and physics.

Other award winners include:

  • Aubrey Boucher, undergraduate student in Occupational Therapy
  • Lindsay Carroll, graduate student in Rehabilitation Science
  • Nina Dorfner, undergraduate student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Erica Many, graduate student in Forensic Science and Law

References:
Duquesne University Times

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