Jessica’s Research

As a Ph.D. Candidate in the DiFeo lab, I am investigating a novel compound that selectively kills ovarian cancer cells.

Investigating the mechanism of DL78

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. This is a result of a lack of preventative screening, high genomic instability, and very few targeted treatments. My dissertation project investigates a novel compound, DL78, that kills ovarian cancer cells, but spares normal cells.

The goal of my research is to determine the mechanism of action of DL78 and in return, identify targetable vulnerabilities of ovarian cancer. So far, I have uncovered that DL78 quickly arrests the growth of ovarian cancer cells, destabilizes major oncogenic coordinator Myc, and ultimately leads to mitotic catastrophe. Importantly, the viability of non-transformed “normal” fallopian tube cells are not affected by DL78. More details will be shared following my first publication on this work.

Experimental techniques utilized:

  • Cell culture (transfection, transduction, viability assays)
  • Flow cytometry
  • Western blotting
  • Co-immunoprecipitation assays
  • RNA-Seq
  • qPCR