Meet Larry Broome, a researcher studying how normal cells can transform into cancer cells
“Curiosity is the most important aspect for a researcher, once you lose it it’s hard to keep going” said Larry Broome, a second-year student in the Cell Biology, Genetics, & Molecular Medicine discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program.
Broome is from Galveston, Texas where he grew up by the ocean and has always been passionate about nature and animals. He is also the first one in his family to attain a college degree.
“Growing up, I’ve always known that I want to go into research” Broome said. “I’ve always been interested in the science of how life functions.”
Specifically, he is interested in cellular biology, where he studies how normal cells can transform into cancer cells. Broome is working in the lab of Dr. LuZhe Sun on three projects pertaining to mammary stem cells, breast cancer, and renal cancer.
“Biomedical science is very relevant to improving people’s health” Broome said.
He is currently working on validating cancer stem cell theory which proposes that some cancer is primarily driven by a smaller population of stem cells. He is trying to find out if cancer is caused by stem cells because they have many of the same properties as cancer cells, such as generating many new cells and they live for a long time.
The second goal of the research is to use the comparisons of cancer stem cells and normal mammary developments to understand the mechanisms that causes stem cells to regenerate mammary glands.
“We’re trying to solve fundamental principles, not a lot of researchers start from the very beginning” Broome said.
The main question for Broome is “why things are happening?”
He chose UT Health San Antonio because he “found the faculty very friendly and approachable. I did not see that in many other institutions that I’ve seen.”
Outside the lab and classroom, Broome is the current president of the Graduate Student Association and played an active role in last year’s Mikiten Graduate Research Symposium, which showcased many of the great research being done by graduate students throughout the UT system.
Broome is also a member of IMSD (Initiative on Maximizing Student Development), a National Institute of Health student development program to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical research at research-intensive environments.
He has volunteered with the group at a local elementary school to teach science to students.
“We showed them how to make a microscope using a cellphone and how DNA structure works,” he said.
An interesting fact about Broome is that he breeds freshwater and tropical fish and shrimp. “It’s a very calming and rewarding hobby” he said.
Broome’s goal for this school year is to continue the great job Jodie Gray has done for the Graduate School Association (GSA), and to prepare himself for the qualifying exam next semester.
In the future, Broome wants to pursue a postdoctoral position, and continue stay in academic research.
This article was written by Yi-Ting Chung, communications intern at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Chung is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in Business Administration at The University of Texas at San Antonio.