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Cancer research draws PhD candidate to BME faculty member's lab

April 4, 2012

Maria Muccioli, a second-year student in the molecular and cell biology PhD program, studies Toll-Like Receptor 3 and how it affects inflammation in the tumor microenvironment. Muccioli, who recently received honorable mention in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program, works in the lab of BME faculty member Fabian Benencia, assistant professor of immunology in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences with a joint appointment in the Russ College of Engineering.

It has been postulated that inflammation can lead to tumor initiation and development. The research conducted in the Benencia lab builds on previous studies performed in this particular model by Amritha Venkatesh, a former BME student in Benencia's lab now at Cell Signaling Tech. According to Benencia, foundational studies on the relevance of TLR3 signaling in cancer had been performed by another BME faculty member, Kelly McCall, assistant professor of endocrinology in the Department of Specialty Medicine. "Her group has the lead in the studies of TLR3 expression and signaling in non-immune cells such as cancer cells or thyroid cells," Benencia said.

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