37MS – Investigating angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment

Status: Filled – Intern: David Hall
Intern: David Hall
Faculty Name: mary-kathryn-sewell-loftin
UAB Department: Biomedical Engineering
UAB School: Medicine
Campus Address: 630A WTI
Telephone Number: (205) 908-3999
Email: mksewellloftin@uab.edu or Click to Send E-Mail
For how many summers have you served as a preceptor: 0
CCC Research Area: Cancer Biology
Number of hours per week that the preceptor will personally supervise or work with the intern: 40
Other faculty, staff, or graduate students who may help to supervise the intern:
1. Dr. Ralph Sanderson
2. N/A
Title of Project: 37MS – Investigating angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment
Project Description:

Our lab focuses on how biomechanical factors affect tumor progression and angiogenesis. We utilize a microfluidic device made from poly(dimethylsiloxane), a clear polymer, that allows us to create small tissue mimics that contain multiple human cell lines including fibroblasts and endothelial cells (ECs). The ECs will organize into vascular networks, allowing us to interrogate how different biomechanical parameters (ECM composition, stiffness, etc.) affect blood vessel growth. Previously, our work has shown that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) promote increased angiogenesis through mechanical activity independently of soluble growth factors. This project will specifically investigate how angiogenesis is regulated when the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 (VEGFR2) is inhibited with shRNA in the presence of mechanical stimulation from CAFs.

Project Status: Will begin on or before the CaRES student’s start date
Location of Project: Birmingham, AL (UAB)
Proposed Start Date: June 1, 2020
Proposed End Date: August 28, 2020
Expected work schedule for intern: Not very flexible, intern MUST be at work on certain days of the week and at certain times of the day (as may be necessary to interview patients, attend lab meetings, process samples, etc.) and should contribute full-time effort.
Category of Project: Laboratory Research
Cancer topic: Breast
Does this project involve human subjects: No
Does this project involve animal subjects: No

Cell Culture – The intern will be performing routine cell culture, including propagation/passaging and transfection with lentiviral reagents for delivery of shRNA.


Protein Analysis – The intern will be performing Western Blots on various cell lines for characterization purposes and to validate any shRNA experiments.


3D Cell Culture models – The intern will be trained in the generation and use of 3D tissue culture methods involving co-culture of various cell types in fibrin-based matrices. Immunofluorescence will be used to analyze the systems.

Preceptor will provide intern with access to the following:
Office or desk space, Computer and printer, Laboratory work bench space, Supplies needed to complete project, Equipment needed to complete project
Likelihood that intern will be included as an author on one or more publications
related to this summer research project:
Very likely
Areas in which the ideal candidates will have experience:
Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Laboratory Skills, basic knowledge, Molecular Biology, Statistics and Data Management, basic knowledge