CIE Researcher of Distinction, April 2018
Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Café series. In addition, we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of his/her journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction is Christian Ruiz, PhD candidate in the Genetics Program. Christian presented his work, ‘Metabolic Signatures Associated with KRAS driven Lung Cancer ’ on Monday, April 9, 2018.
CHRISTIAN'S PATH INTO RESEARCH
Chrisitan was born in Pereira, Colombia and came to the US when he was a toddler and was raised in New York. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from The City College of New York. Christian is currently a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Genetics Program here at Stony Brook University. He was a REU in Nanotechnology summer research intern and a Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow.
CHRISTIAN's Current Research
Describe the work you presented for your Research Café.
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the world. Oncogenic KRAS are one of the most common mutations in NSCLC cancer, with approximately 40% of lung tumors containing KRAS mutations. In addition, KRAS mutations predict a poor outcome and a poor response to conventional therapy as well as targeted therapy. As such, it is essential we continue to understand the consequences of these mutations. Cancer cells require extensive metabolic reprogramming in order to provide the biomass needed to sustain their proliferative state. Recent studies highlight a role for KRASmut in driving altered cancer metabolism as part of its mechanism of action. The goal of my thesis is to identify metabolic signatures associated with oncogenic events such as KRAS. The long-term goal of my studies is to help develop more effective treatment for KRASmut driven NSCLC.
How did you become interested in research?
I originally wanted to go go to med school so I volunteered in a cancer research lab and fell in love with it.
What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?
The CIE. I participated in a summer research program for undergraduates and had a great time. The support the CIE offered from day one had a huge impact on my decision to apply to the graduate program here.
Are there any other projects, beyond your Research Café work, that you are currently working on?
Too many!!. The broad theme of my work is on cancer metabolism but specifically I currently work on three different projects.
What are your future goals?
To be the head of my own lab where I have the freedom to ask my own questions.
What do you enjoy most about research?
The learning. I love to read papers not just because you learn the material but they are a window into some of the greatest minds in the world. It is very instructional and helps shape my training and way of thinking.