Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2016
Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Ovijit Chaudhuri (Mechanical Engineering) and Peter Marinkovich (Dermatology)

Research Title: Extracellular matrix malleability regulates 3D breast cancer cell invasion

Research Description: Detection of tumors has improved dramatically, but discerning which tumors will become invasive, and likely fatal, remains challenging. Neither genetics nor tumor size seem to predict whether a cancer will become invasive. Recent work has shown that physical properties of the tissue surrounding a tumor may promote or suppress invasion. Katrina has designed a novel, 3D biomaterials system to study how complex mechanical properties of the tumor microenvironment regulate breast cancer cell invasion. Her approach involves using time-lapse confocal microscopy and pharmacological inhibition of key force-sensing pathways, and she aims to propose new targets for therapeutic intervention.


Katrina is an Associate Director of Genomic Sciences at GlaxoSmithKline.