Graduate student organizers
Menusha Arumugam, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Menusha is a third-year graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Matt Steensma at Van Andel Institute. Her project involves understanding how the tumor microenvironment contributes to epithelial tumorigenesis in NF1-deficient breast cancer. Using a novel rat model and 3D coculture systems, Menusha seeks to investigate how Neurofibromin loss in fibroblast and adipocytes can alter the ECM, specifically collagen, to initiate and promote breast cancer.
Jamie Endicott, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Jamie is a third-year Ph.D. student in the lab of epigeneticist Dr. Peter W. Laird. Her research is focused on understanding patterns of DNA methylation that co-occur with aging, cancer, and chronic diseases. Jamie is developing computational tools that exploit these patterns to evaluate disease risk and whether therapeutic interventions are working.
Katie Hollis, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Katie Hollis is a fourth-year graduate student in the lab of Dr. Bart Williams, where she studies Wnt signaling. She aims to map the specific receptors required to activate different signaling pathways, in hopes of therapeutically targeting individual signals when they malfunction in diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis or Alzheimer’s disease.
Lauren McGee, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Lauren McGee is a third-year student at the Van Andel Institute in the lab of Dr. Matt Steensma. Her current project is to understand the development of treatment resistance in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). Using a mouse xenograft model, she aims to monitor the development of mutations in MPNST cells over time and to identify new therapeutics for this cancer after relapse.
Scientific organizing committee