Emily Duffner ’17 CLAS, a senior Biology major with Biochemistry and Spanish minors, has been involved in cancer research since her sophomore year at Villanova. She has been working in the lab of Janice Knepper, PhD, professor and co-director of the Biochemistry program, as part of an ongoing project investigating a molecular mechanism in breast cancer development.
“My specific role in the project has been to demonstrate that knocking down the protein ZC3H8, or FLiz1, significantly reduces the invasiveness of breast cancer cells,” she says. “My senior thesis project will aim to elucidate the specific interactions that produce the aggressive phenotype of breast cancer cells, and therefore contribute significantly to the metastatic potential of the disease.”
Outside of the lab, Emily is captain of the University cheerleading team, an activity she says has strengthened both her time management and communication skills.
To further prepare for a future career in medicine, Emily has volunteered in a hospital emergency room and shadowed doctors in a variety of disciplines. Her goal for after graduation is to attend medical school.
“I am leaning towards something in pediatrics, potentially pediatric oncology, because of my experience with cancer research,” she says.