“People have always been afraid of tumors and cancer because it’s usually life threatening, it is also so difficult to cure,” explained Samin Javanmardi, a student in the new Master of Science (M.S) in Personalized Molecular Medicine degree program at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio.
Javanmardi was drawn to the program because of its emphasis in implementing personalized strategies to prevent and treat human diseases.
During the program, students are trained in the latest technologies in next generation sequencing, single cell analysis, computational biology, epigenomics, proteomics, drug design, animal models of human diseases, systems approaches, as well as instruction in “mining” the multitude of human disease databases such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
“It’s a brand-new field, it has so much to grow and if we are able to improve our knowledge of what happens at a molecular basis, we will be able to make better predictions,” she said.
Currently she is in the lab of Dr. Thomas Boyer, a professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine, where she is working on research focused on the molecular basis of MED12 in the pathogenesis of uterine fibroids.
“Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. Many women have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health, one study found that, by age 50, 70 percent of whites and 80 percent of African Americans had fibroids, so I thought it would be interesting to find out more about it,” she said.
So far, Javanmardi has really enjoyed working in the lab because she is constantly learning new things.
“My labmates have been really great and everyone is helping and guiding me to be a better scientis. These relationships that we have with our labmates are essential to how successful we will be and how much we enjoy our time at the lab bench,” she said.
When asked why Javanmardi is interested in research as opposed to other careers, she answered that she loves the lifestyle of a bench scientist.
“A scientist should be curious and creative. We want to know why things happen and how things work. Scientists must be able to think outside the box and envision things that cannot be seen ” she said.
“I’ve had a passion for science ever since I can remember. I don’t like work where I sit and do regular things every day. I like having the challenge of research. When you can find something to make lives better, it will bring a smile to the people’s face and their family,” she explained.
After graduation, she plans to apply to a Ph.D. program.