UT Junior Plays Softball, Studies Skin Cancer
She has served two summers as an intern with the National Institutes of Health.
TAMPA – Laurie Kostecka, a member of the University of Tampa’s softball team, spent her summer as an intern in a biomedical skin cancer research lab at the National Institutes of Health.
“The research I am performing is helping to find a new direct cause of cancer and how it can be stopped,” said Kostecka, a marine science–biology major who has served two summers as an intern with NIH.
Her summer research focused on proving that one particular protein facilitates the formation of skin cancer. She presented her findings at the NIH’s Summer Poster Day.
Kostecka, of Germantown, MD, has the drive for biological research in her veins. She grew up listening to her grandfather talking about his own career as a cancer researcher, which intrigued her.
“It was him who really sparked my interest and encouraged me to look into it,” Kostecka said. “I am very grateful to have him in my life, because now I get to share with him everything that I’m learning and doing and he gets so excited about it and wants to share what he knows back.”
In fact, Kostecka said that a cell line she used for her research this summer is actually one that her grandfather created when he was starting up when he was younger.
“He makes me more interested in the work that I do and more excited for my future,” Kostecka said.
During the school year, Kostecka, who is in the biological honor society Beta Beta Beta and a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, plans to continue her research while on campus, reading journal articles and scientific papers to absorb as much about the protein’s background and what other researchers have discovered about it. She intends to spend time at the NIH lab during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks as well.
“I enjoyed my lab’s atmosphere, because the people in my lab were very enjoyable to be around and the hustle and bustle really suited me,” Kostecka said. “I’m not one for sitting around, and in the lab I am always on my feet jumping from experiment to experiment.”
The internship has increased her interest in potentially working in a lab after college or getting a doctoral degree in cancer biology. Her dream job would be working to find and use marine life in cancer-related pharmaceutical drugs.
“Only a scarce part of the ocean and its life has been discovered, and being able to use natural components from it for cancer drugs is such an exciting concept to me,”Kostecka said. “There are already many drugs that contain marine life and chemicals, as well as other natural components found on earth, but there could be so many more that we haven’t discovered that could work better.”
For information about UT, go to ut.edu.
Photos of Laurie Kostecka courtesy of UT.
University of Tampa | Laurie Kostecka | Education | Cancer Research | National Institutes of Health | TB Reporter
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