Hello! My name is Maria Sena and I am a biotechnology major at JCC.
Many people might not know that JCC offers a summer undergraduate research program known as SURI, or Science Undergraduate Research Initiative. It’s an amazing opportunity for students like myself who are majoring in the sciences and would like to get experience doing research. I am currently enrolled in SURI and have just finished my first week of research. What kind of research you ask? Well, let me tell you a little bit about my research project. I’m working on the cancer project that has been a major research topic since the biotechnology program began.
Yes, I did say cancer research.
Breast cancer tends to move to the bone, brain, or lung when it spreads, and when it enters the bone it’s very difficult to treat. What I am doing is taking cells from mouse bone marrow and exposing them to UV light to kill them. This simulates how cancer cells are treated with chemotherapy. We then study what proteins are produced by the cells that we killed with UV light to see why cancer cells tend to thrive in bone marrow.
Personally, I never expected to be doing anything even close to this within my first year of college, but here I am doing research on cancer! Research can be incredibly frustrating when things go wrong and we get no results, but that’s part of the fun, too. Every day is an adventure, and I never know what’s going to happen! Hopefully this summer I will get results and be able to present my research at a national undergraduate research conference in September. I am very excited to see what happens in the coming weeks, and I will keep you up to date with my research and tell you a little bit about other projects as well!