I have spent most of the past week in the lab, during which time I've been fortunate to learn about many aspects of the work being done with endothelial cells (e.g. cell culture, differentiation from stem cells, viral-induced transformation, etc.). I was also able to observe in vivo studies comparing the growth of tumors on two-dimensional versus three-dimensional platforms and to gain a better understanding of tumor models in mice. I plan to learn more about these areas in order to gain insights that will be helpful in preparing for my dissertation.
One highlight of the week was a lecture by Dr. Cheresh on pathological angiogenesis. His lab has published some very interesting papers recently, and a company he started in 2001 has just sold for 560 million dollars this week. While the lecture was excellent, the best part, for me, was standing around a small office for an hour or so after the talk had finished, listening to other professors and post-doctoral fellows as they discussed the finer points of their work with Dr. Cheresh. The ideas they proposed were fascinating, and his suggestions regarding experimental designs and methods of analysis were quite thought provoking. On a side note, his advice on pitching ideas to venture capitalists and launching companies was also very interesting.
I began working on a small project involving parallel plate flow chambers - as a continuation of a draft for a paper that was started several months ago. This has been a nice chance to brush up on fluid dynamics as well as an opportunity to learn more about how endothelial cells respond to stress. While the analytical side of the project is fun, a part of me keeps wanting to re-design the entire chamber in order to allow for expanded studies. I feel this project has potential.