Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D.
Dissertation Description: Investigating p53 gain-of-function mutants in Triple Negative Breast Cancer
The most frequently altered gene in cancer, TP53, encodes for the protein p53 which is altered in 100% of triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). In one altered state, p53 mutations result in protein with a gain-of-function or ‘neomorphic’ activity. TNBC cell lines with gain-of-function mutations, generated through CRISPR/cas9 technology, will be used to determine which biochemical signaling pathways can be targeted for therapeutic intervention leading to cell death. The ultimate goal is to test the p53 adaptive states and eventually provide candidate therapeutic targets for TNBC, a cancer that currently has no FDA-approved molecularly targeted therapies.