By Brynne Brouse '18
Brynne Brouse, a senior forward on the women's basketball team spent her summer participating in a cancer research internship this summer at the University of California, San Francisco with Washington College alumna Dr. Terumi Kowhi-Shigematsu. Also participating in the internship was 2017 Washington College alumnus a four-year men's swimmer Jason Mercando. Here is her experience.
This summer, I had the exciting opportunity to do cancer research with Washington College alumna Dr. Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu at the University of California, San Francisco. While at her lab, I researched SATB1 expression levels in head and neck cancers and their relationship to aggressive metastatic cancer. I became well-trained in a number of molecular and biochemical research procedures, including western blotting, qRT-PCR, RNA purification, immunofluorescence staining, tissue culture, and ChIP-seq.
This opportunity was extremely rewarding, because I grew in multiple ways that allowed me to become more confident in myself and my abilities. I have definitely grown as a researcher as a result of the extensive training in the cutting-edge molecular biological techniques and through learning how to interpret the data. This was a special opportunity to work in an NIH-funded research lab.
The most thrilling aspect of this experience was gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of cancer metastasis and the role SATB1 plays in metastatic cancer. My specific research investigated head and neck cancer, which intrigued me on a personal level. While I was working on my research, my uncle was diagnosed with head and neck cancer this past July. Therefore, all the research I was undertaking took on a completely new and relative meaning in my life. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that Dr. Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu and her colleague, Dr. Yoshinori Kohwi, and her research team, as well as Washington College, have provided me. It was truly an amazing eye-opening experience and I can honestly say I have grown as a scientist and an overall individual through this cancer research internship.