How has your interest in cancer nanomedicine evolved over the course of your co-op?
My interest in cancer nanomedicine has greatly increased as my time on co-op has went by. In January, I wasn't completely sure what nanomedicine consisted of and how research in this field transpired. As time went on, I began to fully grasp the true power of nanomedicine. My interest in this field has truly been maximized by this co-op. Seeing how motivated and committed my coworkers are has inspired me to pursue that passion in my own career. I know that nanomedicine will be a part of my career in one way or another, and I am excited to see how exactly I will incorporate this incredibly interesting field of medicine into my life in the future.
What was the most unique element of your CaNCURE experience?
For me, the most unique element of CaNCURE was the novel technology I had the privilege of learning about and utilizing. To my knowledge, the nPLEX device is only being used in my lab. This means that I essentially was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with this technology and help contribute to its proof of concept. I cannot wait to see where the nPLEX goes and how many people it helps. Without a doubt, I know that I would not have had such a unique opportunity on any other co-op in the Northeastern database.
What program component (mentoring, research experience, seminars, etc...) had the most meaningful impact on your goals for the future?
Without question, the most meaningful CaNCURE program components were the mentoring and research experiences. I was matched with an incredible set of mentors in Dr. Castro, Hyungsoon, and Hakho Lee that I would argue cannot be matched. Their patience and willingness to teach truly set them apart from many others in the scientific community. Not only that, but all of my lab members were so kind and welcoming. I cannot say that enough. Additionally, as mentioned previously, the unique research opportunity I was given was an incredibly meaningful portion of this experience. I never thought I would be able to help validate and improve a novel cancer diagnostic tool, and yet here I sit having worked on that project for 5 months. I now know the full amount of work that is necessary to take a simple idea and convert it into a scientific reality, something I hope I can transfer into my own career in the future.
What unanswered questions have developed over the course of your project? How could these questions be addressed?
A lot of my work involved validating this nPLEX system, so I don't have a lot of questions about the work I conducted myself. However, I think one of the biggest questions I have is how effectively will the nPLEX be incorporated as a clinical tool? How long will it take to get to the clinic? I know how powerful this device could become for diagnostics, so I am excited and intrigued to see how quickly it will be widely accepted. We have been working to validate the tool against patient samples to indicate how effective it could be in diagnostics. So I suppose more and more validation studies can be performed to address the questions I have put forth.