For the past few weeks as part of my internship I have been examining microscopic images of head and neck tissue to not only identify regions of cancerous cells, but the unique molecular characteristics of such cells. While examining three slides per patient for a cohort of over five hundred patients proves to be a daunting number of slides, I have learned a great deal about the cellular and molecular mechanisms, which take place in the human body. Having the opportunity to not only observe cellular structure from real patients, but also do quite a bit of reading to understand how these structures play integral roles in tumor biology has been fascinating. I have also gained a much deeper appreciation for the molecular age of medicine. Having the opportunity to characterize Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas at a molecular level is indicative of the more sophisticated and well-suited approaches we current medical research is pursuing. Although at times looking through thousands of slides can make even the most exciting areas of research seem mundane, I have had a truly invaluable experience in investigating the expression of biomarkers in one of the largest if not the largest cohort of head and neck cancer. I look forward to continuing to learn about tumor biology in the modern age of medicine.
- Sofia, Sofia: Week #7
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