Kimberly Barr, was awarded the Presidential University Summer Fellowship in 2018 to study the effect of retinoic acid on SK-N-SH neuroblastoma migration and neuritogenesis. Kimberly is a Biology major who is also a member of the Honors Program and SJLA, took the Cell Biology Laboratory course in 2016, where she developed an interest in tumor cell biology. She eventually focused her attention on the effects of retinoic acid on neuroblastoma cell adhesion and migration.
The neuroblastoma model is interesting because these tumor cells migrate aggressively and extensively. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that retinoic acid at nanomolar concentrations triggers neuroblastoma cells to acquire neuron-like characteristics. Thus, she is building on this knowledge by looking at the effects of this differentiation pathway on how the tumor cells alter their growth and migration patterns. This research has important implications for cancer treatment. She plans to present her work at the upcoming annual conference of the American Society for Cell Biology in December 2018 (San Diego, CA).
In addition to her research, Kimberly has participated in a number of extracurricular activities. She is very involved with volunteering at the Leahy Clinic. She is a member of our Student Government. She served as a student teaching assistant for the Cell Biology Laboratory course in Fall 2017. She also participates in our lab's educational outreach activities to McNichols Plaza.