Maria Fernanda Senosain Ortega

Name: Maria Fernanda Senosain
Country: Peru
Mentor: Pierre Massion, M.D.

Hi! My name is Maria Fernanda Senosain and I am a Biology undergraduate student at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru. Currently, I’m in my fourth year of studies and I’ll be finishing my bachelor degree next year.

My increasing interest for biomedical sciences in the last years drove me to join a lab at college. That first experience in research was very enriching for me, and I knew immediately that I was in the right direction. Later, I knew that some Cayetano’s students had the opportunity to do some internships abroad and I was so curious about that. Fortunately, I had the chance to talk with two of these students who told me about VISRA and encouraged me to apply to the program. (Thanks guys!!)

These weeks I have been working in Pierre Massion’s lab, which focuses in Lung Cancer Biology research. In Cayetano, most of the labs work with infectious diseases, thus for me to work in cancer biology was completely new and so exciting! My project consists of evaluating if the inhibition of SLC1A5 (Glutamine transporter) or SLC7A11 (Glutamate transporter) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by shRNA lead to a compensatory overexpression of other transporters to preserve Gln driven cell growth and survival. The implications of this work are that should these transporters be targeted in patients in the future and resistance develops, we need to determine the mechanism of resistance and try to prevent it.

After this internship, I’m totally convinced that I want to apply to a PhD program once I finish my bachelor degree. During the VISRA program I had the opportunity to talk with professors and PhD students, a unique experience, which really helped me to figure out my future plans. Now I know that there are many things I can do as a researcher, both in academia or industry.

I'm going back home with very pleasant memories of Vanderbilt and Nashville. The campus is beautiful and it's so well organized. Also people are very nice and they are always willing to help you, making you feel at home. As a music lover, I can’t finish without saying that I really enjoyed the way music is lived in Nashville, not for nothing it’s known as “Music City”. Awesome city, college and people, such a life experience!