Marina Katelyn Smiley
Short Research Description
Previous Institution: University of Toronto
Full Research Description
I graduated with an honours BSc. from the University of Toronto in Biochemistry. I thoroughly enjoyed the program and can't wait to get started at Columbia. During my BSc., I did two lab placements. The first in Dr. David Andrews’ lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute (Toronto, ON); the second in Dr. Liliana Attisano’s lab at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomedical Research (Toronto, ON). In Dr. Andrews’ lab, a placement I stumbled into quite by accident, I got an introduction to the world of bioinformatics and high throughput screening while working on a prostate cancer prodrug. The experience not only gave me an introduction to mammalian tissue culture techniques, but also a glimpse into the potential unlocked by incorporating computer software into biology. For the past two years in Dr. Attisano's lab, I worked on characterizing the effects of overexpression of NUAK2 on the Hippo pathway and seeing if it might be a potential therapeutic target for cancer. Working with signalling pathways has all sorts of complications but it has definitely shown me the amazing complexity of cells and piqued my interest for more.
I currently am particularly interested in signalling as it relates to development. I've seen how abnormal signalling can lead to disease and now I'm interested in studying how signalling leads to a normally functioning body. I believe my background makes me particularly suited to study compounds that either repress or activate well-known growth pathways such as the Hippo pathway, TGFβ/Smad pathway, or the Hedgehog signaling pathway and I honestly can't wait to get started!