My name is Aidan and I am a graduate of Boston Latin Academy's Class of 2012. I am a rising junior at University of Massachusetts Amherst majoring in biology with a pre-med concentration. I have been in Project Success since 2012 as well; my first year I worked with the Center for BioMedical Informatics (CBMI) at Harvard Medical School working with breast cancer statistics and BRCA1 and BRCA2 statistics to create a breast cancer survey to collect data to potentially develop a statistical risk assessment model in the future. For my second year, I worked at the Harvard School of Public Health under the Department of Healthcare Policy; conducting a literature review on antipsychotic prescription among children and teens nationally to see where antipsychotic use was most prevalent, what the most prevalent reasons were for prescription, and what we could potentially do to change healthcare policy to change antipsychotic use.



This summer I am working for the Wegiel Lab at Beth Israel Hospital's Center for Life Sciences, under Dr. Barbara Wegiel; whose concentration within cancer research is under prostate and lung cancer within the department of surgery. The project I am doing this summer is working on analyzing Biliverdin Reductase (BVR, responsible for breaking biliverdin into bilirubin which is then further broken down into waste products), Heme Oxidase 1 (HO-1, breaks heme into biliverdin, carbon monoxide, and Iron (II)), and Heme Oxidase 2 (HO-2, same function as HO-1) activity within LNCaP and PC3 (two immortal prostate cancer cell lines; meaning they replicate indefinitely). This is to study how HO-1 and HO-2 work within cancer cells in order to find how we can use these as drug targets. From the papers that I read before my research, we know that carbon monoxide (also known as CO) is a signalling molecule which is used by the immune system to recognize lysed, or "broken", cells. We know we can also give CO to patients as well to help them have better outcomes after surgery, have better transplant outcomes, and as adjuvant therapy with chemotherapy for cancer. We do not know how it works though, and that is the answer we seek.

References used so far:

1. Barbara Wegiel, Douglas W. Hanto, and Leo E. Otterbein (2013). The Social Network of Carbon Monoxide in Medicine. Trends Mol Med. Jan 2013; 19(1): 3–11.

2. Kim HP1, Ryter SW, Choi AM (2006). CO as a cellular signaling molecule. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006;46:411-49.

3. Maramag C, Menon M, Balaji KC, Reddy PG, Laxmanan S. (1997). Effect of Vitamin C on prostate cancer cells in vitro: effect on cell number, viability, and DNA synthesis. Prostate. 1997 Aug 1; 32(3): 188-95.

4. Menon M, Maramag C, Malhotra RK, Seethalakshmi L. (1998). Effect of Vitamin C on androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines (PC3 and Mat-Ly-Lu) in vitro: involvement of reactive oxygen species-effect on cell number, viability, and DNA synthesis. Cancer Biochem Biophys. 1998 Jun; 16(1-2): 17-30.

5. Mikirova N, Casciari J, Rogers A, Taylor P (2012). Effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C on inflammation in cancer patients. J Translational med. 2012 Sept 11; 10:189. Doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-10-189.

6. Moretti M1, Budni J, Freitas AE, Rosa PB, Rodrigues AL. (2014). Antidepressant-like effect of ascorbic acid is associated with the modulation of mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Jan;48(1):16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.10.014. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

7. Hu JL, Xiao L, Li ZY, Wang Q, Chang Y, Jin Y (2013). Upregulation of HO-1 is accompanied by activation of p38MAPK and mTOR in human oesophageal squamous carcinoma cells. Cell Biol Int. 2013 Jun;37(6):584-92. doi: 10.1002/cbin.10075. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Note from Melissa: Welcome to your Project Success homepage! Your lab mentor is Dr. Barbara Wegiel. She's suggested some great readings for you in preparation for the summer: please read them before you get here:
The social network of carbon monoxide in medicine
Carbon monoxide expedites metabolic exhaustion to inhibit tumor growth
We've also matched you up with another mentor to help support you through the summer and give you further exposure to science careers. Your mentor is Kate Doherty.

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