Day: June 6, 2023

Catherine Rono is an HRI Fellowship Winner

Catherine Rono HRI Fellowship
Catherine Rono HRI Fellowship Winner

Ph.D. Student in Biological Sciences, Catherine Rono, continues to be recognized for excellence. Rono is the winner of the Summer 2023 HRI Graduate Student Fellowship.

Rono stood out among the applicants. Rono published a first-author peer-reviewed article, “A dynamic compartment model for xylem loading and long-distance transport of iron explains the effect of kanamycin on metal uptake in Arabidopsis,” following her undergraduate years at Spelman College. She also won several awards and scholarships.

“The proposal is to screen essential molecules that work together with PDE3-modulator to induce apoptosis of LKB1-mutated tumor cells and to understand the molecular mechanism. The findings are likely useful for precise applications of target therapy relating to the LKB1-regulated cellular metabolisms,” said the award committee. “The project is clearly laid out.”

Health Research Institute (HRI) Graduate Fellowships were created to assist with the cost of graduate studies. Fellowships are awarded three times per year in the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms, with a limit of one award per student of up to $5000 to be used in one semester. 

What are you studying and why?

I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with a focus on Cancer Biology. My decision to focus on this field is deeply rooted in a personal experience I had during my childhood, where I witnessed my beloved aunt battle against ovarian cancer, which tragically claimed her life. This traumatic event left an indelible mark on me and sparked an unwavering passion to make a meaningful contribution to cancer research.

Through my research, I aim to uncover the complexities of this disease and develop innovative approaches for its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. I hope to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field of cancer, working towards improved patient outcomes and, ultimately, a future where cancer is no longer a devastating threat. It is my firm belief that by dedicating myself to this field, I can honor the memory of my aunt and positively impact the lives of countless individuals and families affected by cancer.

Do you plan to continue research with this award?

I am incredibly grateful and honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Summer 2023 HRI Graduate Fellowship award in the amount of $5,000. This prestigious recognition will provide invaluable support for my research work focused on exploring and uncovering novel metabolic components and biomarkers within the Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1) signaling pathway.

Through rigorous experimentation and analysis, I aim to elucidate the regulatory functions of LKB1 in suppressing the expression of key proteins associated with promoting apoptosis. By unraveling these intricate mechanisms, my research findings have the potential to make substantial contributions to the development of targeted therapies, and personalized medicine approaches for the treatment of patients with LKB1 mutated cancers. The ability to tailor treatments to individual patients based on their specific genetic profiles and molecular characteristics holds great promise for improving patient outcomes and reducing the burden of cancer worldwide.

What does the HRI Fellowship mean to you?

The HRI Graduate Fellowship award is a tremendous honor and a testament to the significance and potential impact of my research work. It not only acknowledges the value of my research but also provides the necessary resources and connections to further drive my work forward. I am deeply grateful for this recognition and committed to utilizing this opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting impact in the field of cancer research.

Furthermore, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the entire HRI community, my mentor, my colleagues, the research team, and the Biological Sciences Department. I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by such brilliant and dedicated individuals. Their encouragement and support have been instrumental in my growth as a researcher.