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TBMH graduate student awarded two grants to advance brain cancer research

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Category: research Video duration: TBMH graduate student awarded two grants to advance brain cancer research

Joelle Martin, a graduate research assistant in the Sontheimer Lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, received a Zeta Beta Tau Cancer Research Award and a student fellowship funded by Virginia Tech alumnus and benefactor Ray Gaskins.

My research is focused on glutamate transport in a disease called glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is the most common malignant form of adult brain cancer. And glutamate is the neurotransmitter that kind of signals for nonce to talk to each other. In about 50 percent of glioblastoma patients, the levels of glutamate and their brain reach up to 10 times that of which healthy neuronal tissue can tolerate. And so it's not only killing off the healthy neurons, it's then creating room for the tumor to grow and expand within the brain. The Graduate Fellowship has allowed me to pursue my academic interests and in new and creative way by buying new products, find different cell lines, find kits that we haven't used them elaborate for. It was just so refreshing to me and really inspired me to think about new and creative ways, innovative ways to answer the questions that I'm working on in the lab. And it instill this responsibility to make the most of it. It was just a great experience to feel supported by the really generous donors of these fellowships. I don't think that you really understand how much it matters to students like me, because it gives us this freedom, pursue our academic goals.