Fourth year graduate student Ming Gao is originally from Southeast China and has been in San Antonio since 2013.
“I choose San Antonio because I’m a big basketball fan,” Gao said. “I love the Spurs.”
Gao is a student in the Cancer Biology track of our Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate Program now called Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program.
“I like to do science because of my father. My father worked in a pharmaceutical company when I was a kid and sometimes he would take me there,” he said.
In the lab of Dr. Pei Wang, Gao is able to bring his passion for cellular biology and drug research to work on a project related to pancreatic cancer.
His research focuses on investigating the function of the Hippo signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer.
“Our research has a significant meaning to me. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., since pancreatic cancer patients has no symptoms at early stage, which make it very hard to treat once it was diagnosed.” Gao said.
“We think the best cure for cancer is prevention. That is why we are interested in pancreatic cancer development, and our study suggests that the Hippo signaling pathway plays a very important role in pancreatic cancer development and progression.”
He was recently selected to receive a competitive Young Investigator Travel Award from the American Pancreatic Association to attend and participate in the 47th Annual Meeting of the association holding in Boston, MA in October.
“I’m excited about this meeting because I will be able to meet the experts,” he said. “The meeting is focused on the pancreas so it will also be a good place to discuss my research with many others and to get inspired to advance my research.”
Gao explained that unfortunately, he had booked a plane ticket for his parents to arrive from China to San Antonio at the same time he will be in Boston.
“I had booked the flight before I heard about the travel award,” he said. “My parents will be here until Chinese New Year so I’m really excited because it’s the first time they are coming to the United States. I can’t wait to see them after the conference.”
In the future, Gao would like to pursue a career in translational science. The vision of contribution impassioned and consumed him.
“I am passionate about what I do in science,” Gao laughed, “when I thought about the contribution I could make to many suffering patients, I felt the responsibility. It drives me moving forward in any given moment.”
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.