Amy Wu, advised by PRISM and PPS-OC lead faculty members Sturm and Austin, awarded a prestigious Young Investigator “Trans-Network” proposal award
Amy Wu, a graduate student in Electrical Engineering, advised by Prof. James Sturm and co-advised by Prof. Robert Austin in Physics, has been awarded a prestigious Young Investigator “Trans-Network” proposal award by the Physical Science Oncology Center program of the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institute for Health. Her project is entitled “Direct Visualization the Role of Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Evolution of Drug Resistance in Cancer.” This work is an extension of her thesis work in the labs of Sturm and Austin, in which she is examining the use of microfabricated structures to accelerate the emergence of drug resistance of cancer and to identify the key mechanisms underlying this drug resistance. Her work to date has focused on both multiple myeloma as well as breast cancer. In this new project, she will explore how cancer cells may accept DNA from neighboring cells to construct a more heterogeneous genome. This strategy, known as horizontal gene transfer, may help cancer cells gain genetic diversity and evolve resistance to chemotherapy. As part of the project Ms. Wu is leading, she will collaborate with labs at Salk Institute and MIT.