017-21 NSU TRED Annual Report FY2021_Web

NSU TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 11 GRETCHEN SPENCER A second-year graduate student in NSU’s Master of Science in Marine Science program, in the Halmos College of Arts and Sciences, Gretchen Spencer works in the lab of Tyler Cyronak, Ph.D., which focuses on biogeochemical cycles in marine and coastal ecosystems—such as reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves—and how these systems may be impacted by climate change. Spencer’s long-term career goal is to work in the policy sector to address major societal issues related to the environment. As a step toward this goal, after defending her thesis next year, she will be applying for a fellowship that will support working on environmental policy issues in the federal government. COLTON SIMMONS Fourth-year student in the College of Pharmacy, Colton Simmons is pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Pharmaceutical Sciences through the college’s Molecular Medicine and Pharmacogenomics concentration. He currently works in the AutoNation Institute for Breast Cancer Research and Care, run by Jean Latimer, Ph.D., located on the fourth floor of the Center for Collaborative Research. Simmons’ research involves the DNA repair pathway and nucleotide excision repair (NER) in breast cancer. He is part of a team that focuses on treatment mechanisms and approaches. Latimer’s lab discovered a microRNA that decreases NER repair in breast cancer cell lines, thus making them sensitive to chemotherapy. This has a tremendous implication for how to treat late-stage breast cancer and decrease the amount of chemotherapy required for treatment. When his doctorate is complete, Simmons aspires to work in industry, namely in a pharmaceutical company doing benchwork in their research and development unit.