University/Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Project Name: Role of Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms in Breast Cancer
Research Interests: Cancer Biology
Mentor: Dr. Rajendra Mehta
I was first exposed to the world of great pioneering scientists--Pasteur, George Washington Carver and the first woman to win two Nobel prizes, Marie Curie, when I was in the third grade. Learning about these research scientists’ dedication and enduring quest for scientific knowledge, I was captivated! I wanted to be one of them. Thus, as I continued in my education my love for biology and public health grew; leading to my choice of biology as my undergraduate major and public health for my MS degree at Benedictine University. As a student trainee in Dr. Divaker Choubey’s laboratory at Loyola University in Chicago, I gained a valuable solid foundation in the field of cancer molecular biology.
Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate degree in Biology at Illinois Institute of Technology. In Dr. Mehta’s laboratory, I am focusing on deciphering the molecular genetics behind the high incidence of aggressive breast cancer in young African American women. One reason may be due to genetic variations in the Vitamin D receptor gene. By identifying molecular differences of this gene, I hope to pave the way towards preventing and treating breast cancer in African American women.
My overall career goal is to strive for excellence, becoming one of the top breast cancer researchers based in an academic setting; with a distinctive scientific research track record as evidenced by publications in esteemed peer-reviewed scientific journals. My research, I hope, will be instrumental in advancing knowledge in the field, as well as articulating visions of scientific success for the future generation in general and minority students in particular.