Blake Sells

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Cancer Biology

Current advisor: David G. DeNardo, PhD

Undergraduate university: Duke University, 2019

Enrollment year: 2020

Research summary
The role of glutamine metabolism in cervical cancer therapeutic resistance

Over the past summer, I worked in the lab of Dr. Julie Schwarz in the department of radiation oncology. The Schwarz lab studies molecular pathways that underly cervical cancer treatment resistance. Currently, approximately 34% of women will not survive longer than five years after diagnosis of cervical cancer. Previous studies in the lab have shown that aberrant glucose and glutamine metabolism impacts radiotherapy resistance in vitro and may be partially responsible for treatment resistance. In the lab, I utilized colony formation assays, immunofluorescence, and flow cytometry to better understand how cervical cancer cell lines respond to inhibited glutamine metabolism in the presence of radiation and cisplatin, the current standards of care for cervical cancer.

Graduate publications
Schwaiger-Haber M, Stancliffe E, Anbukumar DS, Sells B, Yi J, Cho K, Adkins-Travis K, Chheda MG, Shriver LP, Patti GJ. 2023 Using mass spectrometry imaging to map fluxes quantitatively in the tumor ecosystem. Nat Commun, 14(1):2876. PMCID: PMC10199024