What is the ultimate goal of your research?
Our goal is to understand the molecular origins of cancer cells and to identify the cells that give rise to tumors. With particular focus on the role of cell cycle control pathways in differentiation and cancer, we hope to identify critical points of susceptibility to new and established therapeutics that effectively target the most critical cells in the tumor.
What excites you about your research?
Besides an increasing ability to identify a potential "Achilles heel" in a variety of different tumor types, I am most enamored with our increasing appreciation of how closely linked tumor development is to the process of normal tissue formation. The practical goal of identifying the earliest precursors of tumors has opened up fascinating new insights into how specific cell types are born and how their progress through the differentiation program is governed by a core machinery altered in most tumor types.
What do you like best about Sackler students?
Sackler students display a genuine interest in problem solving coupled with an appreciation for the practical aspects of their research. The majority of students truly seem to enjoy the intellectual rewards of uncovering the mysteries embedded within each biological molecule, cell and organism that they study on their thesis journey.
What qualities distinguish the Sackler School from other graduate schools?
The Sackler School harnesses a pool of very successful faculty working across a spectrum of disciplines with a tight-knit group of curious and talented students. The best part of the Sackler Programs is size; classes within each program are big enough to form useful, cross-disciplinary networks, while remaining small enough that no one gets lost for even a moment. The School's dedication to the student and to these principles is clear and second to none.
What do you do to relax?
I find the most relaxing distraction from my usual daily routine of reading, writing, and cheerleading in the lab is manual labor. I focus most of this energy on home repair, with a particular interest in rural rehabilitation -- the repair and weatherproofing of homes of those less able to take care of these issues on their own. Putting on a roof or siding a home brings remarkable clarity of mind and lowers blood pressure too!
What is your favorite Boston restaurant?
That's tough -- so many to choose from, particularly with our central location in Chinatown. For lab outings, Jacob Wirth's is fantastic. For a consistently delicious meal and super service for small groups, Montien, Panang, and Ginza are all reliable old friends. But the best thing of all is having so many more to try so close by that I can't really name a favorite!