The University of Nevada, Reno Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is federally funded at $231,000.00 annually
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Ron Pardini
Research Topic: A Determination of the Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Cell Differentiation and Invasion in Cancer Cells
Abstract: When grown on an extracellular matrix substrate like Matrigelä, most mammary cell lines will demonstrate normal differentiation patterns and form spheroids. However, the most aggressive cancer cell lines (i.e. A549) often exhibit a branching phenotype more typical of fibroblasts. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) is known to inhibit the growth of a number of cancer cell lines, including A549, by altering the cell membrane and signal transduction. Recently, findings in our laboratory have shown that DHA also inhibits differentiation and invasion of cells grown on Matrigelä. Moreover, we found that linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 PUFA, significantly enhances cell invasiveness in the same medium. In the current study, an investigation of how DHA and LA supplementation is altering cell signaling events and extra-cellular matrix protein expression is proposed. While much is known about the effect of these PUFAs in traditional, two-dimensional tissue culture models, no one knows if they are preserved in three-dimensional cultures. Relatively new reagents, designed to retrieve cells from Matrigelä cultures, will allow the collection of intact cells for analysis. This data will provide insight into how DHA and LA are altering cancer cell signaling in an in vitro model more analogous to what is seen in patient tumors.
New Scholar: 2013 cohort
Graduating with a Baccalaureate Degree: 2015