Pamela R. Jackson
University/Institution: Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco
Hometown: Dublin, GA
Project Name: Identification of MRS Markers of Glioma Progression
Research Interests: Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, Cancer, Modeling
Mentor: Tracy Richmond McKnight, Ph.D.
One afternoon of the summer of 1996 made all the difference in my life. I was introduced to bioengineering during a summer program at the Medical College of Georgia, and I immediately knew that I wanted to use engineering to solve problems of medicine and biology.
After receiving my bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, I joined the Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, an intercampus program between the University of California's Berkeley and San Francisco campuses. Although my interest in bioengineering began in high school, I found what aspect I wanted to study during a summer rotation with Dr. Tracy McKnight, my current advisor. She was collaborating with Dr. Krys Bankiewicz on a preclinical project using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize convection enhanced drug delivery (CED) of liposomes in animal models for brain tumor therapy.
During the CED experiments, gadolinium liposomes spread into different shapes on the images depending on which area of the brain we infused. I wondered what could cause the differences, and if they were predictable using a MRI. My rotation project became the inspiration for my thesis work. Currently, I am investigating correlations between magnetic resonance parameters and cell density, which has implications for determining tumor type, treatment, and predicting survival.
I plan to take a postdoctoral position furthering my research in imaging for tumor evaluation in the future.