1. How did you get interested in your research topic?
I got really interested in the multidisciplinary nature of treating hepatobiliary malignancies in medical school and wanted to focus my research years on a topic in that space. I was also particularly interested in learning how to manage and analyze large-scale datasets, particularly those involving genomics data. With the help of my primary mentor, Dr. Stock, I put together a project focused on identifying patterns of differential gene expression in cirrhotic liver parenchyma that are associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma development, which provided the perfect opportunity to marry both of those interests.
2. How did you select your research mentorship team?
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with truly excellent mentors from multiple different departments at UCSF. My mentorship team included Dr. Peter Stock (Transplant Surgery), Dr. John Roberts (Transplant Surgery)., Dr. Zoltan Laszik (Pathology), Dr. Neil Mehta (Hepatology), and Dr. Emanuela Zacco (Laboratory for Cellular Analysis). While completing a Masters degree in Biostatistics, I was also connected with Dr. Adam Olshen, who specializes in complex transcriptomics analyses and was extremely helpful in guiding my own analysis for this project.
3. How will you incorporate your research into your future career goals?
In my future career, I hope to continue to focus on the applied use of transcriptomic analyses in clinical practice. Several prognostic gene signatures are commonly used in treating patients with breast cancer and colon cancer and I would love to contribute to the devlopment of a similar test for patients with hepatobiliary malignancies.