2010 Undergraduate Pelotonia Fellows

Below is a list of the 2010 Pelotonia Undergraduate Fellows with links to their project summaries.

Philip Allen
Major: Comparative Studies 
Project: One Story at a Time
Project Summary: One Story at a Time will be a documentary featuring the stories of cancer survivors who have gone on to do amazing things in life after treatment, created to encourage and inspire individuals facing diagnosis for the first time


Jason Carrier
Major: Computer Science and Engineering
Project: Modeling structural robustness of tumor cells
Project Summary: Working on modeling cell structure using a platform called NetLogo by defining a set of rules for individual agents in the model which work together to form the cell. Using these models will help determine inherent properties of cells and to maximize the efficiency of treatment on these cells based on their response to their simulated environment in the model.

Lori Devereux
Major: History
Project: The Radical Mastectomy of Nabby Adams Smith; Living and Dying with Dignity in the Public Shadow of Two U.S. Presidents.
Project Summary: To research and document the courageous struggle of Nabby Adams Smith, the daughter and sister of two Presidents, and her breast cancer surgery in 1811, before the use of anesthesia. Her story reiterates the need for early detection.

Clint Christman
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: Identification & Characterization of Atg1 Substrates Important for Autophagy
Project Summary: My project aims to investigate the role of a protein called Atg1 by characterizing its activity in a cellular process that helps keep stressed cells alive while simultaneously preventing cell growth and division. Identification of the role of the central regulator Atg1 could provide novel downstream targets for cancer therapy.

Tyler Church
Major: Chemistry and Molecular Genetics
Project: Matrix Metalloproteinases: A Target for Catalytic Degradation
Project Summary: Develop new drugs that target either MMP-2 or MMP-9: two enzymes that are thought to be instrumental in the metastasis of cancer. The results from these experiments will enable progress toward preventing the spread of cancer and aid in its treatment.

Shauna Collins
Major: Biomedical Science
Project: The role of CS1 in the natural killer cell versus multiple myeloma effect
Project Summary: The body's natural killer cells have been shown to induce killing of tumor cells and the novel drug treatment elotuzumab amplifies this effect in patients with multiple myeloma.This project aims to determine the role of CS1, the protein to which elotuzumab binds, in natural killer cell function and efficacy against tumor cells.

Jinna Deslandes
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: Regulation of ABC Transporter Systems by a Rho GTPase
Project Summary: Determine if mutations in ABC transporters, which have significant impact on the recognition and transport of substrates across the plasma membrane of cells, aid in the metastasis of cancer or the development of tumors resistant to drugs. The findings may allow researchers to develop a treatment to repair the mutations so anticancer therapies can exert their effect on the body.

Dustin Gable
Major: Biomedical Science
Project: Ets1 as a Potential Target of MicroRNA-1 in Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Project Summary: Investigate the role of a small strand of RNA, called a microRNA-1, in the progression of skin cancer. It holds potential as a cell-specific tumor suppressor that may act by inhibiting the gene, Ets1, which has been implicated in promoting various cancers.

Molly Gallagher
Major: Evolution, Ecology, Organismal Biology and Anthropology
Project: Confirming targets and unraveling pathways of the regulatory Pax2/5/8 transcription factor EGL-38
Project Summary: Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and next-generation sequencing to identify the direct target genes of transcription factor protein EGL-38 in C. elegans. Understanding the molecular pathways involved in gene regulation is a critical first step to determining why mutations in transcription factor genes are linked to some human cancers.

Kate Gordon
Major: Biochemistry
Project: Targeting Protein Arginine Methytransferase 5 (PRMT5) Overexpression in Glioblastoma Multiforme
Project Summary: Target an over-expressed protein in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and test several new compounds in the treatment of this brain cancer. Testing these compounds will hopefully lead to the development of a new drug platform for patients with this type of cancer.

Kelsey Gray
Major: Biomedical Science
Project: Role of DCPS In Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Project Summary: Determine if the gene DCPS acts as a tumor suppressor in skin cancer. This may provide insight into a potential preventative or therapeutic target.

Paul Gruenbacher
Major: Biology
Project: Moving through the neighborhood - examining the role of brain epidermal growth factor signaling on glioma progression in vitro and in vivo
Project Summary: I will be studying the role of the EGFR in the environment of the brain and its effect on the progression of invading tumor cells. I will perform experiments using cells grown in tissue culture and experiments using mice that have a different form of this receptor to study the how tumor cells react to an environment with or without the presence of normal EGFR activity.

Andrew Gruenzel
Major: Molecular Genetics/Chemistry
Project: The Role of E2F3 Phosphorylation in Rb-mediated Tumorigenesis
Project Summary: Study how protein phosphorylation affects the activity of certain cell proliferation regulators, and to study how these modifications affect the growth and metastasis of thyroid and pituitary cancers. By characterizing this family of proteins, known as the E2F family, we hope to understand and eventually treat cancers that use this pathway.

Alex Hissong
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Project: Developing Brain Biomimetic Material for In Vitro Tumor Studies
Project Summary: Metastasis is the process of cancer cells infiltrating surrounding tissue. In order to understand and prevent metastasis in the brain, we are creating synthetic “brain-like” environments in which we can grow and observe cancer cells.

Kevin Kaufman
Major: Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutics
Project: Antibody Ligation to Pulmonary Polymeric Microparticles for the Treatment of Lung Cancer
Project Summary: Create micron-sized particles with chemotherapeutics loaded inside from a degradable polymer, which can be inhaled to help treat lung cancer. Additionally, affixing a special antibody to the surface of these particles may help specifically target and inhibit cancerous cells in the lungs.

Anthony Kiragu
Major: Biology
Project: MicroRNAs, lin-28 and Cancer
Project Summary: Determine how microRNA regulation by specific genes affects expression pattern of genes regulated by it. This may shed light as to why the dysregulation of microRNA expression has been noted in human growth tumores and their role as oncomirs in cancer cells.

Jonathan Lee
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: A Genome-Wide Screening of Drosophila melanogaster to Identify Endoreduplication Specific Genes
Project Summary: Carry out a genome-wide screening of Drosophila melanogaster in order to identify endoreduplication-specific genes. These findings will open up many new options for cancer therapy, such as drugs targeting both mitotic replication and endoreduplication in cancer cells.

Grace Miller
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: Identification of E2f1, E2F3a and E2F3b target genes in mouse liver development/cancer
Project Summary: Evaluate the transcriptional specificity of important genes in mouse liver development and cancer using ChIP-Sequencing technology. The information gained will support future cancer research and could lead to drugs and therapies to treat cancer.

Kevin Murnan
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: Suppression of an Intestinal Tumor Phenotype In Vivo by the BLM Helicase
Project Summary: Determine whether over-expression of a protein known to promote DNA stability will inhibit tumor formation using a mouse model of intestinal cancer. This work may lead to effective chemoprevention and therapeutic interventions for cancer patients.

Mariya Nudel
Major: Biology Mathematics
Project: A Connection Between Cell Cycle Regulation and Cytoplasmic-Nuclear Dynamics of tRNA
Project Summary: Study cell cycle protein levels in mutant cells, which display abnormalities in the tRNA nuclear-cytoplasmic distribution. Examining the connection of the function of the tRNA nuclear-cytoplasmic transport pathway and cell cycle progression will possibly provide a link between this tRNA sub-cellular distribution and cancer.

Thach Pham
Major: Molecular Genetics
Project: Tumorigenesis and Protein Stability of Knockin PTEN Mutations in Mice
Project Summary: Study how the altered functionality of a key gene, PTEN, affects the cell-to-cell communications between the tumor cells and the surrounding cells. The findings may provide further insight into how PTEN suppresses cancer that may lead to new anti-cancer therapies.

Jason Pradarelli
Major: Biomedical Science
Project: The effects of tetrathiomolybdate and oncolytic virus combination therapy in vivo
Project Summary: Use a drug to inhibit the formation of blood vessels near a brain tumor, thus starving the tumor of essential nutrients. This treatment method may enhance the action of cancer-killing viruses, which may improve the clinical efficacy of cancer-killing virus therapy against a variety of deadly cancers.

Ronald Siebenaler
Major: Biomedical Science
Project: Analysis of Epigenetic Modifiersin a Mouse Model of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Project Summary: Investigate the effects of a novel therapeutic treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia by examining the drugs’ ability to target specific genetic defects. These findings will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms by which leukemia forms and will reveal novel targets for future cancer therapies.

Cassandra Skinner
Major: Microbiology
Project: Targeting Melanoma via the Innate Immune System
Project Summary: Investigate the presence of folate receptors on melanoma tumor cells, and determine whether or not these tumor cells can be selectively targeted by natural killer cells, via a folate-immunoglobulin conjugate. This could provide a possible target for drug intervention or a new therapeutic strategy.

Kathryn Takamura
Major: Chemistry and Spanish
Project: Eccentric Cleavage Products of Lycopene: Dietary Carotenoids as Cancer Chemopreventive Agents
Project Summary: Use organic chemistry methods to synthesize the eccentric cleavage products of lycopene. These compounds can then serve as substrates to determine the effects of lycopene on tumor growth inhibition in prostate cancer cell lines.

Elizabeth Ulm
Major: Biology
Project: Coordination of cell fates within a tissue by a Pax2/5/8 transcription factor
Project Summary: Studying the ability of transcription factors, especially Pax transcription factors, which are found in some types of cancer cells, to affect the activity of genes in distant cells. Learning more about these genes will provide information about their roles in cancer progression and the ability of cancer cells to communicate with one another.

Linghan Wang
Major: Communications
Project: Design Effective Anti-Smoking PSAs Targeting African Americans:A Dynamic Motivational Activation Model
Project Summary: Develop and test Dynamic Motivational Activation Model, a dynamic cognitive model, to improve theoretical guidance to producers of anti-smoking messages targeting African Americans. By utilizing real-time psychophysiology measures to indicated cognitive and affective responses during PSA processing, the study can help predict, simulate, and evaluate PSAs to figure out appropriate production solutions based on specific campaign goals and targeted audiences, instead of depending solely on post-hoc evaluations

Jennifer Wittwer
Major: Molecular Genetics and Chemistry
Project: Synthesis of Natural Product Derivatives for Anticancer Treatment
Project Summary: Construct Norvalienamine derivatives via synthetic organic chemistry and test the molecules produced in a novel role as HAT inhibitors. Concurrently, other HAT inhibitors will be isolated from Cashew and Oregano sources and will be chemically manipulated in order to develop more efficient naturally dervived anti-cancer treatments.

Emily Wong
Major: Microbiology
Project: Methanobrevibacter smithii RNase P - a model for archaeal mesophilic type A RNase P and a possible antiobesity target
Project Summary: Biochemical characterization and structural determination of a catalytic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) essential for viability of obesity-linked microbe. As obesity is a risk factor for many cancers, the ability to selectively inhibit this RNP may provide potential anti-obesity and anti-cancer therapies.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu