University/Institution: Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Grant Name: Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellowship
Research Interests: Breast cancer cell invasion and intravasation
Mentor: Jeffrey E. Segall, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine
I came to the U.S. from Colombia at age 16 in pursuit of a higher education. I was fortunate to attend Hamilton College where the close interaction between students and faculty enabled me to explore my interest in a career in science. It was at Hamilton where I was first introduced to cancer research. Under the supervision of my undergraduate mentors, Dr. George Shields and Dr. Stephen Festin, I investigated the structural properties and functional activity of Alpha-fetoprotein as an anti-breast cancer agent.
At the same time, I had a passion for medicine. At an early age, my father had instilled within me the desire to become a physician through stories about his interactions with doctors as a pharmaceutical representative. My father also happened to pass away from colon cancer, an event that solidified my decision to become a cancer researcher and an oncologist. That is how I came to join the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I am currently working on my doctoral degree under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey E. Segall, investigating the signals within the tumor microenvironment responsible for breast cancer cell invasion, as well as evaluating the gene expression of breast cancer cells that leave the primary tumor to enter the circulation and establish distant metastasis.
After completion of my MSTP training, I plan to become an oncologist and establish a lab where I can continue studying the signaling pathways involved in metastasis.