Esther Kim


Glioblastoma Multifome (GBM) is the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumor. In most cases, low-grade glioma tumors show no growth for years and rapidly transform into high-grade tumors. One of the key factors that high-grade gliomas demonstrate is their ability to recruit existing vessels (angiogenesis) or develop a new vascular supply (vasculogesis) to support their growth. Past research suggests that bone marrow-derived cells are responsible for this process which ultimately progresses the disease. Therefore, I am focusing on studying the early events in the tumor microenvironment to find the growth factors in order to prevent low-grade brain tumor progression. Knock-out mice with tumor-suppression genes eliminated are used, and the progression of low-grade tumor cells is much faster in these mice (about 12 weeks) than in humans (years). Multi-photon microscopy is used to image brain tumor progression in different stages- in vivo. After tumor cells are introduced, the behavior of blood vessels, bone marrow-derived cells, and microglia are observed to understand the tumor-induced mechanisms. I perform craniotomy to inject tumor cells to a specific area in the brain and observe the progress through the window. I am currently working with Liz Wayne at Cornell University and Yujie Huang in Dr. Greenfield’s lab in Weill Cornell Medical College. I am an undergraduate majoring in Biological and Environment Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering. I started working for the Schaffer Lab in the summer of 2012 and expect to graduate in May 2014.

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