Ben Stocker is in his third year studying biomedical engineering at Ohio State. He received the Undergraduate Student Pelotonia Fellowship and spent one year in Brazil doing cancer research.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to conduct cancer research in São Paulo, Brazil through the Pelotonia Fellowship Program of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. I had the pleasure of working under Dr. Thiago Moreira for 10 weeks in a cardiorespiratory physiology lab.
A recent paper in Cell promoted the idea that neurons purposely break their DNA to access certain genes when the cell is activated. It is known that damage to DNA, such as the described double-strand break, can lead to cancer, should the damage not be repaired by certain proteins. Our group wanted to extend this idea to the respiratory control centers of the brain, to determine if their activation under stressful breathing environments could lead to an increase in double-strand breaks in the DNA, thereby placing these cells in danger of becoming cancerous should the DNA damage not be repaired.
The launch of Design Matters in Brazil was a successful pilot course due in part to the support of the Ohio State Brazil Gateway. Design Matters is a service-learning, social impact and social innovation design course that provides students experiential learning in collaborative, team-based projects to address real-world challenges. During spring semester, Ohio State Department of Design students engaged Mackenzie Presbyterian University students to create and design solutions for a non-profit organization, Centro de Inclusão Social Pela Arte, Cultura, Trabalho e Educação (CISARTE).