My name is Arba Cecia and I am a rising senior, double majoring in neuroscience and biology. I am volunteering as a researcher at the Laboratory of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My long-term goal is to pursue an MD-PhD. I am investigating the role of the methanolic extract of asparagus, emodin, and rhein as potential enhancer of the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis, along with allicin, an organosulfur compound of garlic as a potential enhancer of both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. I am examining these effects both independently and simultaneously against different glioblastoma cell lines (GL261, U87, and 9L), and studying the mechanism of cell death. Since about one-third of the overall risk of cancer may be related to diet, a large number of dietary compounds have been tested to determine their potential chemo-preventive properties. White asparagus, emodin, rhein and allicin have been reported to possess anti-inflammatory, antitumor activities in many cancers. However, there is a lack of information regarding the antitumor effects of these compounds in glioblastoma.
I spend most of my time in the laboratory plating, treating, and performing different cell assays including cell proliferation, cell counting kit 8, clonogenic assays etc. The next step of the experiment consists of investigating the mechanism of cell death in each treatment which will be accomplished by performing cytochrome C releasing apoptosis assay, and pan caspase inhibition assay.