There is increasing evidence that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are largely responsible for therapeutic resistance, metastasis, and tumor progression in breast cancer. CSCs often localize next to blood vessels in so-called perivascular niches. Although this microenvironment is critical for CSC self-renewal and differentiation, the origin of these cells is not well understood. One possibility is that vasculature-dependent variations in solute transport play a significant role in the emergence of CSCs through altered metabolism. My project will utilize tissue engineered platforms to determine the functional links between perivascular niche properties, tumor and CSC metabolism, and consequential changes in tumor malignant potential.
I received my B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2014, where I remained to complete a one-year M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering. After receiving my M.S.E., I worked as a research engineer in Warsaw, Indiana for Zimmer-Biomet’s (formerly Biomet’s) Biologics division supporting the development of devices for autologous cell therapies. I am now pursing my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University.