Hi, my name is Leah Machlin, I'm in the El-Ashry Lab and I'm a research assistant. For the most part I do a lot of cell culture on tumor cell lines that are derived from patients, and we do a lot of classifications on the differences between the tumor cell lines. So in a patient that has a tumor, and the tumor is trying to spread to different areas of the body, it will often circulate somewhere in their blood and then end up in a new location. So what we try and do is capture them and study these cells that are traveling to different parts of the body that aren't necessarily where the tumor is. Well I actually studied biomedical engineering so, I'm looking into getting back into that as well.
A lot of the research that I do here and the techniques that I learned can translate easy to that. It's nice to be part of a big organization like Sylvester because we have access to a lot of equipment that makes very difficult research you know, much easier. I was born in Fort Meyers, Florida, it's on the golf coast of Florida. I really liked chemistry in high school, I took an extra couple of years of it, like a higher level program. Yeah, I thought I'd thought I'd get into chemical engineering when I was in high school. My dad's actually a physician and he did a good job telling me not to follow that field too much.
One of my grandma's actually had Alzheimer's disease and for a while I really wanted to study that but I got into breast cancer research. No one in my family's had breast cancer. You're not doing good science if you only have succeeding experiments, you plan to, experiments to find out something and if you don't find that out it's still learning so, I never think a failed experiment is a bad thing. Well with the project that I was working on, I was kind of surprised that no one really tried to do it before. They started from the ground up, they have actually a biomedical engineer like me that was working with them, build their entire system so that they could process the samples, which was pretty, pretty cool. Well we just expanded the circulating tumor project that I'm on to go from an initial i think, 40 patients to 300 patients. So I'm hoping that we're gonna learn a lot from all these new patients and the category for what stage the patient is being studied has also been changed. We're setting different stages of the cancer so hopefully we'll learn something from that.
It's a field where you need to, to know a lot about the human body and in addition to keep up with the research, cause there's always something new coming out so that can be very difficult, just getting a good idea of what to focus on. If you have you know, a mind of science, research is you know, the best thing for you. You can ask all the questions in the world and find your answers.
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