Inhibition of NRAS mutant malignant melanoma through targeting long non-coding RNA in vitro and in vivo

Summer 2017

James Zheng : Molecular and Cell Biology - BMB and Public Health

Donor: Pergo Fund
Mentor: Susana Ortiz

Melanoma is among the most common and lethal forms of cancer and its incidence has greatly increased in the last 30 years. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) are a class of epigenetic regulatory molecules important to cancer development and progression, and can serve as tumor markers or even targets for therapy. My research is focused on two novel lncRNA important for the survival of NRAS mutant malignant melanoma. I aim to verify the effects of these lncRNA, as well as demonstrate that we can inhibit melanoma cell growth both in vitro and in vivo through targeting these lncRNA. Additionally, I hope to characterize the mechanisms of action of these lncRNA so see if they are viable targets for therapy. 

Dear Pergo Foundation, Thank you for sponsoring my research project this summer. This experience has meant a lot to me because I know it has made me a better scientist as I gained significant expertise in both my field and in general research methodology from being able to learn from the postdocs in my lab on a daily basis. By working full time, not only was I able to make significant progress in my main thesis research project, I was also able to publish a review article and nearly complete a case report, which I am putting finishing touches on right now. This summer has made me more confident that in my future plans. I would like to pursue a M.D. to become both a clinician and a scientist. I’ll always remember this experience fondly and I am thankful that you helped me on the way to realizing my dreams. -James