*
Rensselaer Research Review Spring 2007 * Feature Articles Awards & Grants Recent Patents Accolades
*
*
*
*
Focus on Undergraduate Research

*
* Leanne Ahronian
*
Theoretical Category: Second Place
*

Leanne Ahronian, Biology major, for her project “Increased Invasive Phenotype in AU-565 Breast Adenocarcinoma Cells.” George Edick from Biology supervised.

*
Leanne Ahronian: Discovering That Normal Tissue Surroundings Change the Behavior of Cancer Cells

Cancer cells at metastatic sites tend to exhibit a “dedifferentiated” state, meaning the cancer cells have lost the characteristics of the cells from which they arose. This is traditionally seen as a sign of invasiveness, and often correlates with a poor prognosis.

As cells migrate through tissue, they are exposed to matrix proteins that the cancer cells would not normally have been exposed to. As a senior majoring in biology, Leanne Ahronian attempted to determine the effects of matrix proteins on the form and behavior of breast cancer cells.

As cancer cells gain an increased ability to metastatically invade normal tissue, the cancer cells progressively "dedifferentiate" to a simpler form from what they were. Ahronian found that if she cultured cells from a breast cancer line called AU-565, normal cells, and the protein collagen all together in the same dish, the behavior of the cancer cells changed, depending on their degree of physical contact with the normal cells and collagen. This research suggested that variations in the normal tissue environment that cancer cells moved into could have differing effects on the behavior of the cancer cells.

Ahronian worked in the Cancer Cell Biology group, run by George Edick. Her project, “Increased Invasive Phenotypes in AU-565 Breast Adenocarcinoma Cells” placed second in the theoretical category of the 2007 Undergraduate Research Forum and Awards. This fall, she begins work in the Cancer Biology Ph.D. Program at UMass Medical School (Worcester).
Elizabeth Louie: Understanding Cell Migration
*
* Elizabeth Louie
*
Theoretical Category: Third Place
*

Elizabeth Louie, Biology major, for her project “A Model of Cell Migration Mediated by a Chemoattractant in Single and Co-Culture Microenvironments.” George Edick from Biology supervised.

*

Directed cell migration is an integral part of many physiological and pathological settings, such as immune response and the growth of tumors away from their original cancer site.

Cell migration is often observed, and the mechanism of each movement has been studied extensively. But as a senior in Biology, Elizabeth Louie, studied an area of cell migration that is rarely researched: the actual movement surrounding each movement.

While it has been known for some time that certain chemicals (called chemoattractants) can induce cells to move towards them, Louie's research showed that the chemoattractant-induced movement of one type of cell can be influenced if other cell types are present in the culture.

This finding suggests that such induced cell movements occurring within tissues, both normally and in pathological states, such as metastatic cancer spread, may operate under more complex rules than previously thought.

Louie worked in the Cancer Cell Biology group, run by George Edick. Her project, “A Model of Cell Migration Mediated by a Chemoattractant in Single and Co-Culture Microenvironments” placed third in the theoretical category of the 2007 Undergraduate Research Forum and Awards. She will start her Ph.D. at Stony Brook University in the fall.

*
*
*
Focus on Undergraduate Research  Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4    Previous | Next  *
*
*
*
Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the
Rensselaer Research Review E-mail Bulletin
*
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Research Review
Copyright © 2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180  (518) 276-6000  
http://www.rpi.edu