Emily Smith

Class of 2015

Photo of Emily Smith
Education: BS and MS in Biological Sciences


Emily was interested in stem cell research because in an era where personalized medicine is in demand, stem cells and their functions seem to be an inventive way to meet this need. She wanted to focus on molecular functions of stem cells, how developmental cues alter these functions, and how to translate these findings into clinically relevant research tools or treatment strategies. Once she completed the program, she hoped to either continue into a doctoral program in clinical genetics or start her career in translational research.

Her internship was at UCSD in the department of Cell and Molecular Medicine under the supervision of Karl Willert, PhD (Principal Investigator). They were using stem cells to study the Wnt signaling pathway and its effects on chromosome instability (CIN), with the hope of translating the findings into possible treatments for cancer. Emily was constructing lentiviral plasmids to create ES cell lines that stably express YFP-tagged tubulin (marker for microtubules) and RFP-tagged histone 2B (marker for chromosomes). These cells will be used for live-cell real-time imaging of chromosome segregation during cell division in the presence or absence of Wnt agonists or antagonists, thus elucidating what drives CIN.
After graduating, Emily obtained a position as a research associate at City of Hope.

Emily, presenting her Internship Research at the 2015 CIRM Trainee Meeting.