Alison Clark was raised by scientists which
helped fuel her interest in biological sciences.
But it wasn’t until she was in high
school that her interest in cell biology truly peaked.
“I was enrolled in AP Biology, where we
had to learn about cellular processes in great detail…I remember being so
enthralled by what a cell is capable of doing, and the intricacies of the
mechanisms behind its actions,” Clark said. “Since then, I just wanted to learn
Clark’s interest led her to the Graduate
School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health Science Center where she is
currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Cellular and Structural Biology.
Her research focuses on colorectal
cancer, which is currently the third most common cause of cancer death
worldwide for both men and women.
“Wnt/b-catenin signaling is dysregulated in
over 90 percent of sporadic colorectal cancer cases, therefore targeting this
pathway would be beneficial,” Doyungan explained.
Specifically, she is looking at the effects
of disrupting protein-protein interactions downstream of Wnt/b-catenin pathway on colorectal cancer signaling
and oncogenic properties.
“Cancer is a very heterogeneous disease
that affects almost everyone in some shape or form,” she said. “This is why I
am passionate about seeking answers regarding the molecular and cellular
mechanisms that drive this disease and potentially delivering solutions in a
Clark explained that even though her project
focuses on colorectal cancer, the information obtained from her studies is also
applicable to other types of cancers.
“It is common that similar signaling
pathways are altered from one type of cancer to another,” she said. “My hope is
that my research will ultimately lead to alternative approaches to treat
cancers. If anything, my studies will add to the breadth of knowledge currently
available out there, which only helps us understand this disease.”
To help her in her research, Clark has
just received a Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Travel Award to attend
the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting.
“This travel award will help me in my research in
multiple ways. For one, it’ll allow me to share my work to the scientific
community and get feedback from fellow scientists. Such interactions can result
in fruitful collaborations that take my findings a step further.”
This article is part of the “Meet The Researcher” series which showcases researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.