Sarah Daron-Mathis has successfully defended her dissertation entitled: Cancer Stem Cells in the Screening of Anticancer Drugs for Central Nervous System Tumors. This research focused on the development of a test to predict the outcome of specific therapeutic treatments to give an individual patient the best results. After a surgery, it is often difficult to know which anti-cancer drug(s) will be most effective in continuing to treat a tumor. Daron-Mathis stated, “The test is novel in that it not only looks at the whole tumor, but also at the subpopulation that is resistant and causes relapse in a patient. Determining the chemotherapeutic drug that will work on the whole of the tumor and also this resistant population, we can better predict which drug will give the patient the most optimal outcome.”
Pier Paulo Claudio. M.D./Ph.D., Sarah’s mentor, noted that Sarah has “conducted progressive, out-of-the-box, cancer research in the Translational Laboratories at the McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute (TGRI), Edwards Cancer Center,” as well as spending six months doing research at the National Center for Research in Rome, Italy. For that experience, “several experiments involving the effects of microgravity on stem cell growth were repeated by an independent laboratory,” Dr. Claudio stated. Claudio also pointed out several successful presentations at STaR Symposium, the American Society for Gravitational Space Biology, the American Institute for Cancer Research conference in Washington DC, the Cell Differentiation and Development Center symposium, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science Spring Conference, the Annual Marshall University Research Day at the School of Medicine, the Appalachian Regional Cell Conference, and Life in Space for Life on Earth that was held in France. Notably, Sarah won three First Place Posters during these conferences.
As Daron-Mathis reflected upon her time in the Biomedical Program, she found that it had not been easy but she had the strength to persevere. “I worked with people from all over the world and not only gained scientific experience but also culture and friendship. I am very thankful to my committee for their understanding as I worked through medical problems. If it wasn’t for that support, I would not have finished. In the last six years I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, married, began to raise a family, learned Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, had a baby girl, and now have received my Ph.D. Getting the Ph.D. was the second hardest thing I have ever done (having my daughter is by far #1.)”
Congratulations, Sarah Daron-Mathis, Ph.D. on everything that you have accomplished!