Class of 2014
Education: BS and MS in Biological Sciences at Cal Poly
Ellen was interested in in stem cell research/regenerative medicine for its potential to treat debilitating diseases and conditions that are currently difficult to treat or cure. There are so many things left to explore with in stem cell research and it is exciting at how rapidly the field is growing and what we are learning. She wanted to focus on neural stem cells and neurogenesis. Once she completed the program, she wanted to either go into a PhD program and then research, or an MD program in order to have a greater understanding of medicine and stem cell biology.
For her internship, she was working in the lab of Dr. Karl Willert from the UCSD Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. The aim of the project she was working on was to investigate the role of Wnt signaling in the process of reprogramming fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells, specifically focusing on the role of Porcupine, a protein involved in Wnt secretion. Her role in the project was to develop a viral construct that will overexpress this protein, and use that in the reprogramming process. Her resulting publication appeared in an issue of Cell Reports in December 2014.
After graduating, Ellen became a doctoral student at the University of Virginia's Biomedical Sciences program.
Ellen, presenting her Internship Research at the 2014 CIRM Trainee Meeting.