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ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS

FGCU STUDENTS TRYING TO FIND A TREATMENT FOR BREAST CANCER

Nicole Mamprejew and a team of students are often in a laboratory at Florida Gulf Coast University using a microscope with a camera to take pictures of breast cancer cells.

They photograph the cells before and after they have been treated with stilbenes, a family of compounds that plants produce. The students compare the pictures of the cells, looking to see if the stilbenes killed the cells or caused them to change.

FGCU HOME TO NEW CANCER RESEARCH PROGRAM

There are some world-renowned cancer research facilities in the state of Florida — the Moffitt Center and the Mayo Clinic to name a couple — but until now, Southwest Florida went without such a program.

Florida Gulf Coast University birthed its own cancer research program just shy of a year ago, but it was students who were the driving force behind its inception. 

A CLUB IN SEARCH OF A CURE

The new kid on the block means business. The FGCU Cancer Research Program, established as an official student organization in January, might be in its infancy age-wise, but in terms of skill and commitment, its members are wise beyond their years.

CURIOUS GULF COAST ASKS: DOES SWFL HAVE MORE CASES OF PEDIATRIC CANCER?

WGCU visited our cell culture lab and had the opportunity to see our former executive board members Sara Lohbauer and Talia Hammer, actively doing research. Dr. Rhodes explained that Southwest Florida does not have a cancer research hub, and the FGCU Cancer Research Program wants to be that hub.

INTERVIEW WITH DR. LYNDSAY RHODES

Dr. Rhodes describes her cancer research, explains the importance of undergraduate research and how to approach professors about conducting research.

THE MASTER OF GENOMIC PROGRAMS: HOTAIR IN CELLULAR DEVELOPMENT AND CANCER METASTASIS

Former executive board members Sara Lohbauer and Talia Hammer published an article in Aquila that details their HOTAIR project, related to long non-coding RNA and its role in cancer.

Alum earns prestigious research fellowship at NIH

Former president Xylia Horgan was selected for an amazing research fellowship with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

CONFERENCES

NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH

On April 6th-8th three FGCU Cancer Research Program students, Sara Lohbauer, Talia Hammer, and Brandon Ashley, traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to attend the 2017 National Conference of Undergraduate Research. They presented their cell and molecular biology research on the ongoing investigation of the role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) in the regulation and metastasis of breast cancer cells.

HOTAIR is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) known to be involved in regulation of gene expression through epigenetic modifications. Aberrant expression of HOTAIR has been associated with many cancers, including breast, which show increased expression in tumor tissues compared to normal tissues. Increased HOTAIR expression has been linked to enhanced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), cell motility, proliferation, and survival. HOTAIR expression has also been correlated with a decrease in recurrence-free survival rates in patients. In this study, we set out to confirm previous findings of HOTAIR regulation in the estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cell line, MCF7. MCF7 cells were transfected with either a control vector (LZRS) or a HOTAIR expression plasmid; cells stably expressing the plasmids were selected for and grown and HOTAIR expression was confirmed with qPCR. Additionally, differences in HOTAIR isoform expression were observed between different subtypes of breast cancer using primers specifically designed to target all five isoforms. Along with a PCR to analyze differential isoform expression across breast cancer lines, an EMT PCR was run to determine the direct effect that HOTAIR has on cancer cell epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Bioinformatics analysis revealed altered microRNA (miRNA) binding sites between HOTAIR isoforms, suggesting differential regulation of gene expression through non-coding RNA networks. Pathway analysis was run and cell signaling pathways involved in cancer progression were found to be variable and dependent on isoform. Cell assays were run, including colony, proliferation, and wound healing. The colony assay determined the different between the vector and HOTAIR MCF-7 cells with relation to drug survival and estrogen responsiveness. Wound healing was performed in order to see the changes in cell motility between vector cells and cells with elevated HOTAIR expression.

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© 2017 by The FGCU Cancer Research Program