As a scientist my goal is to develop novel therapies for pancreatic cancer by understanding how alternative RNA splicing drives pathogenesis, anti-tumor immunological functions, and serves as a potential therapeutic target.
My background spans over 10 years of training as a molecular immunologist. My research projects aimed to elucidate how helminth derived molecules induce anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages that attenuate inflammation. My doctoral work led to the discovery that helminth-derived molecules reduced the expression of inflammatory mediators and induced microRNAs associated with the M2 macrophages. This finding suggests that reprogramming macrophages through the identified pathways can guide the development of new therapies across inflammatory pathologies where M2 macrophages contribute to disease progression.
Thus, with my understanding of the impact that post-transcriptional events have in cells, I became motivated to study the role of alternative RNA splicing in one of the most aggressive and therapeutically resistant cancers: Pancreatic cancer. Understanding the microenvironment of the tumors, tumor cell interaction with the immune system, and the role of RNA splicing in these contexts is crucial to develop better therapeutic approaches.
Postdoctoral Fellowship: Leslie Warner, Yale Cancer Center.