Maria Mastropaolo

During my 2018 EIPM Summer Internship I helped optimize the environment for organoids, patient-derived 3D models of cancer that help researchers match patients with the best treatment. I was able to draw conclusions about ideal media conditions for specific prostate and pancreatic cancer cell lines by researching literature for reported conditions to potentially optimize the environment, and monitoring and recording changes of the growth/progression of the specific tumor types over time. I also worked with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to validate the presence of specific mutations in patient-derived cancer models. The functional impact of these novel genetic and epigenetic mutations in preclinical models are studied and results can potentially be translated into clinically relevant findings.

After completing the internship I was hired by EIPM full-time for a year while applying to medical school. As a full-time research technician, I continued to work with organoids and FISH. In addition, I coordinated the intake and processing of patient specimens on the Specimen Processing Platform. I was responsible for nucleic acid purification for downstream genetic testing to identify mutations associated with cancer. I was accepted into the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and will begin medical school Fall 2019.

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