Skip to main content

Kaylene
Lu

Cohort 5

Hometown: Winston Salem, NC

Major: Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Chinese

Research Interest: Cancer therapeutics



I have found a family in my fellow scholars and program coordinators. I constantly learn from them and laugh with them, but I also have been inspired by them to better myself and further cultivate my own passions going forward.




WHAT DREW YOU TO THE CSS PROGRAM?

I was first drawn to the CSS program through the prospect of joining a diverse community of students with the same passion as I had for STEM. Being a part of the CSS program, I can say that I have found a family in my fellow scholars and program coordinators. I constantly learn from them and laugh with them, but I also have been inspired by them to better myself and further cultivate my own passions going forward.


WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE CSS EXPERIENCE SO FAR?

My favorite CSS experience has been attending the 2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Anaheim, CA, with several members from different cohorts and Dr. Watkins. It was such an eye-opening experience, as I had the chance to engage in a national scientific community and share and receive recognition for my own research. Although the conference only lasted three days, I had the chance to form strong relationships with my fellow scholars and appreciate the vast expanse of biomedical science research.


HOW HAS CSS SHAPED YOUR CAREER GOALS?

The academic, personal and research support that the CSS program has offered throughout my undergraduate career has been quite impactful in terms of cultivating my self confidence and resolve to pursue my PhD in cancer biology and a career in academia. Meaningful conversations with program coordinators and fellow scholars have allowed me to take a step back to evaluate my real interests, goals and values.


WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY RESEARCH INTEREST?

My primary area of research is the identification of novel targets for cancer therapeutics. Through all my experiences in the lab and in class, I have found great interest in understanding the cell’s various signaling pathways; there is something truly fascinating about piecing together the cellular events that lead to significant responses like apoptosis and proliferation. I have been working in the lab of Dr. Yue Xiong at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center since the end of my freshman year, and my primary project has been characterizing the functionality of a new protein degraders for the treatment of lung cancer harboring mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Currently, I am also exploring the connection between epigenetic control and anti-tumor immunity by determining the role of a specific DNA demethylase in the regulation of immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 in macrophages.


AWARDS AND HONORS

  • CSS Distinguished Scholar Award
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Honors Carolina
  • 2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Poster Presentation Award
  • Office of Undergraduate Research Travel Award



Research Publications