Kristin Smoot is a senior member of UHP and a Crown Scholar double majoring in Biological Sciences and Spanish. During the summer of 2017, Kristin spent 10 weeks participating in the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas-CURE Summer Undergraduate Program (CPRIT-CURE) at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, one of the top cancer institutions in the country. The program is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in cancer research and provides students the opportunity to conduct lab-based cancer research under the mentorship of MD Anderson faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.
Kristin’s primary research focus at UNC Charlotte has been cancer research, thus MD Anderson’s research in basic, translational, and clinical research drew her to participate in the program. At UNC Charlotte her research with Dr. Didier Dreau has been focused on the tumor microenvironment in breast cancer. At MD Anderson she is focusing on identifying predictive biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) patients in order to identify patient characteristics for those who would best benefit from a particular targeted immunotherapy drug. In both labs, Kristin’s research has had an overarching focus on the tumor microenvironment and the critical role it plays in tumor progression and metastasis, with particular attention to the rule of immune cells and the effects of inflammation in this setting.
By participating in the CPRIT-CURE program, Kristin is hoping to gain additional experience working in a laboratory setting and to explore new research questions. As she is working on applications to medical school, Kristin is excited to have the opportunity to attend lectures and presentations from research faculty at MD Anderson.