Biochemistry graduate student Carolyn Shirey has been selected to attend the 2017 National Graduate Student Symposium (NGSS) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Selection in the NGSS is extraordinarily competitive as application is by invitation only. Over 1,500 students were invited to apply for the 2017 symposium of which only 42 students, including Biological Sciences grad student Josh Mason, were selected to participate. Shirey and the other selected participants will receive an all expenses paid trip to St. Jude this Spring where they will give a talk, present a poster, and meet with St. Jude scientists.
Shirey plans to discuss her recent discovery regarding the survival of cancer cells. “I will present research on a bioactive sphingolipid, ceramide 1-phosphate (C1P), which plays an important role in intra- and extracellular events such as cell proliferation, inflammation, and tumor metastasis.” As a result of this finding, “I also discovered new C1P lipid-binding proteins to help us better understand the role of C1P within the cell, in disease, and in cancer metabolism.” Shirey is hopeful about the impact her research can have on the fight against cancer. “I think that working in the lipid field has gained a lot of interest recently, and the role lipids play in cancer and disease is becoming more apparent all the time.”
Shirey is very excited for the opportunity. “It is an honor to present my research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where world-class research takes place every day, in the hope to find cures for cancer and rare disease.This will allow me to discuss my research with leading scientists, and give me an opportunity to effectively communicate my research.”
Shirey’s research was conducted in the laboratory of Robert Stahelin, Adjunct Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Notre Dame, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend, and Interim Senior Associate Director at Harper Cancer Research Institute. Speaking about Shirey’s selection to participate in NGSS, Stahelin said, "This is a well deserved honor for Carolyn. I was honored to nominate her for the St. Jude's National Graduate Student Symposium and felt she was an outstanding candidate to present her work in that prestigious forum.Carolyn has consistently overachieved in my lab bringing new techniques to the fold in order to elucidate the molecular basis of lipid-protein interactions."
Founded in 1962, the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for catastrophic pediatric diseases through research and treatment. All children are able to receive treatment, regardless of a family’s ability to pay for the medical services.