Student spotlight: Sarah Anderson

December 2019—Sarah Anderson is a PhD candidate in Professor Dave Odde's lab, where she studies cell migration in glioblastoma. She is also the vice president of outreach for the student group, Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering. 

What are some highlights of your BME experience?

One highlight has been being able to attend and present my work at a variety of conferences. In particular, I attended the Physical Sciences in Oncology Network Meeting at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland last fall. I met many researchers from other institutions who work in a similar field to me. We were able to discuss ideas and gain inspiration from each others’ work.

What do you find most exciting about your research work?

I am excited about the positive impact my research could have. I study glioblastoma, a highly invasive brain cancer with minimal treatment options, and I hope that the work I do could benefit patients with the disease. At a poster session this fall, I discussed my work with patients and patient advocates, and it helped me understand the importance of connecting the specifics of my research with the bigger picture. It was really exciting to see how patients could relate to the research I am doing.

Given your experience, what do you see as some of the most valuable aspects of the BME PhD program?

The opportunities to collaborate with labs within and outside of the BME department has allowed me to learn a lot beyond the scope of my research. During my first year, I rotated in three labs and, even though I did not join two of them, it gave me a chance to learn more about the research that other labs are doing. This knowledge was ultimately something I could use in collaborations between my lab and others. I also did a rotation with a lab in the Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development department to learn genetic engineering techniques that I have been able to apply to my research.