Megan George

Mentor: Dr. Lori Rice
College of Medicine
 
"Having lost a family member to Breast Cancer. the improvement in our understanding of this devastating disease is especially important to me. I am also intrigued by research and the process of experimental design, especially in an academic environment such as the University of Florida. When I found a lab that focuses on cancer cell biology research, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to combine my desire for a role in research and my passion for the improvement of anticancer therapies."

Major

Animal Science

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Genetic Engineering
  • Cancer Cell Biology
  • Anticancer Therapies

Academic Awards

  • International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Florida Bright Futures
  • University Scholars Program 2016

Organizations

  • UF Women's Ultimate Frisbee
  • Student Honors Organization
  • Partners in the Parks

Volunteer

  • UF Small Animal Hospital
  • Alachua County Humane Society
  • Haile Equestrian Center

Hobbies and Interests

  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Hiking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Reading

Research Description

Genetically Engineered Mouse Model
The mouse model has always been a vital tool for testing proposed treatments for a variety of human ailments, including cancer.Typically, patient-derived, advanced stage cancer cells have been injected into immune-incompetent mice to study the effects of anti-cancer therapies on tumor xenografts. Although useful, this method does not allow researchers to study and observe the cancer from the beginning of initiation. My University Scholars project focuses on establishing a breeding colony of mice with genetic mutations that are known to increase risk of breast cancer in human patients, p53 and BRCA1. Using this Genetically Engineered Mouse Model (GEMM), mutations will be activated in engineered mice when the whey acidic protein (WAP) gene is activated during lactation. This project requires the creation a detailed breeding scheme and genotype testing to establish a breeding colony with the desired genetic mutations. Once the breeding colony is established, the females will wean several litters to activate p53 and BRCA1 mutations, leading to the spontaneous formation of Breast Cancer. This will allow researchers to study Breast Cancer from tumor initiation rather than advanced stages, which will be extremely useful in the development and improvement of anticancer treatments. The natural history of time to tumor formation and tumor incidence will be collected for this GEMM strain. This information will be crucial to planning future interventional experiments.