Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Emily Chen

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2021 & Autumn 2022

Research Project: Identification of Genes Responsible for Methylation of KRAS G12V Mutant Antigen

Project Description: In humans, the KRAS gene acts as a switch to regulate cell growth. Mutations to this gene can cause uncontrollable cell growth. My lab, the Greenberg lab, uses Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT) as a way to engineer T cells to specifically target antigens on the surface of tumor cells. The KRAS antigen is frequently post-translationally modified. In my project, I’m going to use a CRISPR-Cas9 knockout library to study the potential pathways associated with KRAS methylation. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Through this project, I have learned all of the skills required to carry out wet lab research. From learning how to culture tumor and T cells to learning how to isolate DNA/proteins from those cells, and everything in between. I’ve also learned many organizational skills such as how to design and carry out experiments.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

My advice for future Mary Gates Research applicants is to get involved in something that you’re interested in! Find professors who are doing work that you would like to learn more about, and reach out. It never hurts to ask for more information or to express your interest in their work. This can spark really interesting conversations and even help you find a lab that would fit you best. It can be difficult at first, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The Mary Gates Scholar community is awesome and a great scholarship to apply to!