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NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD
B.S. Biology, University of Miami, 2015
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (In progress)
University of Miami, M.S., Genomic Medicine (In progress)
Dr. Javed Khan (NCI) and
Prof. Richard Gilbertson (Cambridge)
Cancer genomics, Tumor heterogeneity and evolution, Resistance mechanisms
Katherine graduated with honors from the University of Miami in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Religious Studies, where she was a student in the Advanced Program for Integrated Science and Math (PRISM), an interdisciplinary, research focused program for top STEM students. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Athula Wikramanayake, investigating the role and localization of Wnt signaling components during early embryonic development. She spent two summers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Dr. Charles Mullighan’s laboratory, where she examined genomic alterations in acute erythroid leukemia, a rare blood cancer with a dismal outcome. This experience ignited her passion for understanding mechanisms underlying malignancies and solidified her drive to become a physician-scientist.
Katherine matriculated at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine concurrently pursuing a M.D. and M.S. in Genomic Medicine. She continued to be fascinated by the genetic underpinnings of human disease and worked with Dr. Mustafa Tekin and Dr. Maria Figueroa studying, respectively, autosomal recessive etiologies of intellectual disability and epigenetic changes in the bone marrow leading to malignancy. After completing her third year, she was selected for a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation funded position in the NIH’s Medical Research Scholars Program, during which she worked with Dr. Javed Khan, elucidating resistance mechanisms to CD19 CAR T cell therapy in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
For her thesis work, Katherine will be researching under the tutelage of Dr. Javed Khan and Prof. Richard Gilbertson using high throughput omic analyses to understand clonal evolution, immune microenvironment, and treatment resistance in pediatric malignancies. After completing her graduate and medical schooling, she will pursue clinical training in pediatric hematology-oncology. She hopes to utilize genomics to gain insight into the mechanisms driving these tumors and translate these discoveries into novel therapeutic strategies for children with cancer.