Two Molecular and Integrative Physiology Graduate Students Make Final Round of Graduate College’s Research Live! Competition


MIP Graduate Students: Janelle Mapes and Jessica Saw

Janelle Mapes won Second Place, and Jessica Saw was one of the finalists.

The competition draws entrants from across the College, and entrants are challenged to explain their graduate work in 3 minutes with only 2 slides. Presentations were scored on delivery, clarity, effectiveness of visual material, and accessibility of language.

Ms. Mapes’ presentation titled, “What Makes Breast Cancer Cells Grow?” focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which hormones and growth factors control normal breast development and how they are disregulated in breast cancer.

“We have discovered a novel gene, called Cuzd1, that plays an essential role in breast development and is overexpressed in a subset of human breast tumors. This research has allowed for a better understanding the specific pathways that regulate the growth of the breast and enabled us to devise more targeted therapies to treat breast cancer,” she said.

Mapes entered Research Live! “because it seemed like it would be a fun challenge, and it certainly was. It is so important for the general public to understand the research being done at institutions like the University of Illinois and events like this are a great way to get both the graduate students and the community engaged in this process.”

Jessica Saw’s presentation, “Kidney Stones: Exposing Geology Within the Human Body,” explains that even though kidney stones are extremely common, the exact mechanisms of formation are still not understood.

“I presented our hypothesis of microbially-induced formation mechanisms in the kidney stone, showing evidence in high resolution microscopy and 16S rRNA gene sequencing results. Recognizing the similarities between environmental geology and biomineralization in our body, we are applying geological technique and concepts to this interdisciplinary work,” said Saw.

Saw entered the contest “because I really identified with the Research Live! concept. I’ve been to many talks where interesting topics were ruined by poor presenting, and it really shouldn’t be that way. There is a component of performance, and even entertainment, in presenting - it is important not to neglect that!”

Watch the Research Live! Presentations:

Janelle Mapes: What Makes Breast Cancer Cells Grow?

Jessica Saw: Kidney Stones: Exposing Geology Within the Human Body.

Posted December 16, 2016.