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SMART Team Presents Research Project in San Antonio, TX

by Erin McCarville
The SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic) Team co-curricular presented their research project at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in San Antonio, TX from March 23 – 26.
Science Department Chair Stacey Strandberg and Science Faculty Eric Himburg co-moderate the co-curricular which gives students the opportunity to practice being research scientists while working on a year-long project with professional research scientists. This year, students worked with Dr. Heather Himburg from the Medical College of Wisconsin and presented their two projects alongside college and graduate students from across the country at the ASBMB conference. Their works were titled The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Chemokines: Inhibiting CXCR4 to Stop Metastasis of (Head and Neck) Human Cancers and For a Few Dollars More: Treatment of Metastatic Head and Neck Cancers with Dimerized CXCL12.  
In the first project, Dashers examined Chemokines, a class of proteins that induce cell migration and have been found to exhibit expression changes and disorders in some human cancers. Students found evidence that CXCR4 is an implication in tumor aggressiveness and urged consideration for CXCR4 inhibitors as future treatments for poor prognostic cancers. For the latter presentation, students studied head and neck cancers as the seventh most common cancer worldwide, with a five-year survival rate of less than 50% for advanced diseases. Ultimately, Dashers found that novel treatments targeting CXCL12-CXCR4 protein interaction were predicted to be beneficial in treating head and neck cancers, yet it is important to continue researching possible treatments.  


Ella Wurtzbacher, DSHA '24, summarized her experience in SMART Team and presenting in Texas: "Through this experience, I learned that science is constantly changing, and you have to stay current on your research. I grew more confident in my scientific writing and presentation skills as well as collaborating with others. It was incredible to meet graduate students, professors, PhD candidates, and other SMART Team students throughout the weekend. I plan to study biochemistry in college, so it was important for me to gain experience researching and presenting.”

Click here to view the DSHA SMART Team student research posters. 

2023-24 SMART Team Student Research Scientists:
Gisela Adelson, DSHA ‘26
Gloria Alvarado-Lopez, DSHA ‘25
Daniela Basurto-Sil, DSHA ‘26
Katie Chandek, DSHA ’26
Atenea Diaz, DSHA ‘26
Charlotte Desjarlais, DSHA ‘25
Taryn Doyle, DSHA ’26
Sofie Glinski, DSHA ’26
Caroline Grams, DSHA ’26
Ilse Hilander, DSHA ‘25
Francie Janisch, DSHA ’27
Ella Jankowski, DSHA ‘26
Zion Lavoe, DSHA ’26
Annabelle Leh, DSHA ‘25
Jenna Mansfield, DSHA ’26
Katie Mark, DSHA ‘25
Josie Marsho, DSHA ‘25
Mia Minessale, DSHA ’26
Anna O’Brien, DSHA ‘25
Helen Pollock, DSHA ‘25
Elizabeth Regan, DSHA ’26
Ava Roesch, DSHA ’26
Alexandra Schneider, DSHA ’25
Olivia Selthafner, DSHA ’25
Sawyer Strandberg, DSHA ’24
Lizzie Stuckslager, DSHA ’26
Addison Toth, DSHA ’26
Liv Tucker, DSHA ’26
Lila Waltenberger, DSHA ’25
Victoria Woelfel, DSHA ‘26
Ella Wurtzbacher, DSHA ‘24
    • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in San Antonio, TX from March 23 – 26.

    • DSHA students share research findings with ASBMB conference participants.


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