Sayeh Gorjifard’s research was personal.
The master’s in biotechnology student spent nearly two years studying which drugs might be effective in treating patients with multiple myeloma – the form of cancer her father died from in 2012.
“It’s nice to go to work and pick a project that’s meaningful to me,” Gorjifard said. “It’s a nice positive doing science work, knowing you will effect someone you know and love.”
Gorjifard was one of 18 students who presented her research findings at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Biotechnology Education’s 13th Annual Research Symposium. The symposium gives students an opportunity to discuss their research with other students, parents, professors and industry professionals.
The event, held at the Montgomery County Campus, was an evening of networking, poster presentations and speakers, including remarks from Jon Rowley, founder and chief technology officer of RoosterBio. Rowley’s keynote address was entitled “Why Stem Cell Manufacturing Matters: How Cell Therapy Manufacturing Innovations are Laying the Foundation for a Sustainable Regenerative Medicine Revolution.” He discussed how stem cells are the microchips of the regenerative medicine revolution. (Read a Q&A with Jon Rowley)
Participants in the poster session included:
- National Cancer Institute fellows in the Molecular Targets and Drug Discovery Technologies concentration of the Master of Science in Biotechnology degree program;
- Students who have completed research projects in bioscience and bioinformatics as part of their requirements for the Master of Science in Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Bioscience Regulatory Affairs degrees and;
- High school students from Montgomery County Public Schools, presenting research posters from their internships.
Students explored topics including placental malaria, prostate cancer, neonatal seizures, Ewing sarcoma cancer, glioblastoma, genetic testing and more.
Gorjifard, who was a National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute Molecular Target and Drug Discovery fellow, took 46 cell lines and screened them against 2,000 compounds to test their sensitivity to determine the effectiveness in killing multiple myeloma cells. Her work in precision medicine used high-throughput drug screening and sequencing data. The ultimate goal is for medical professionals to be able to sequence tumors to determine best treatments. Gorjifard plans to continue her education at University of Washington as she pursues a Ph.D. in Genome Sciences.
The research symposium is an opportunity for the Center for Biotechnology Education to showcase its strengths in the area of biotechnology and research. It began as part of a partnership between Johns Hopkins and the National Cancer Institute. Each year NCI supports master’s degree students in the molecular targets and drug discovery technologies concentration.