7:36 a.m., May 8, 2009----Kathryn Teixeira, a senior majoring in biological sciences at the University of Delaware, presented her cancer research to members of Congress on May 5 in Washington, D.C., as a participant in the 2009 Posters on the Hill, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research.
Teixeira's research project was one of only 60 selected from 425 applications submitted from across the United States. Her adviser is Deni Galileo, associate professor of biological sciences at UD and a founding member of the newly formed Delaware Center for Brain Disease and Translational Neuroscience.
“When human breast cancer cells metastasize to the brain, it usually results in patient death in months,” said Teixeira, a UD Honors Program student.
Her poster, “Quantitative Analysis of Breast Cancer Metastasis to Brain,” described her work to identify a sensitive new model system based on chick embryos for studying the metastasis, or spread, of breast cancer cells to the brain. Her research using the new quantitative system also showed that breast cancer cells preferentially target the brain.
During her visit to Capitol Hill, Teixeira had the opportunity to meet with all three members of Delaware's Congressional delegation, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman and Representative Mike Castle, and tell them about her project.
“Undergraduate research has allowed me to apply what I've learned in class to something real, and by doing this I've learned to think critically and creatively to find answers to questions.” Teixeira said. “Working with Dr. Galileo has given me the opportunity to attend national research meetings, where I've been able to learn about the different kinds of research that scientists are doing and about all of the career possibilities in science.”
Teixeira has been working in Galileo's laboratory for about two years. The Galileo lab research and Teixeira's summer internships have been supported by the National Institutes of Health's IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant to Delaware, which was recently renewed and continues to be managed by the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a major center for life sciences research at UD.
After defending her senior thesis in a few weeks, Teixeira, who is from Glassboro, N.J., will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences.
“At the Posters on the Hill meeting, I was able to see how science and policy can work together and how they're able to influence one another,” she says. “This is really important to me because I'm planning on pursuing a career in public health, and this field relies on the cooperation of scientists, doctors, and policy makers.”
While most of the 40 states represented at the event had one student participant, Delaware was one of only three states that had three students presenting their research projects: from UD, Delaware State University, and Delaware Technical & Community College.
Every University of Delaware college, department, and research center provides hands-on research opportunities for interested undergraduate students. About 700 students actively participate in research projects each year, according to the UD Undergraduate Research Program.
Article by Tracey Bryant