VU Beckman Scholar: Jessica Miles
B.A., Biological Sciences, Communication of Science and Technology (anticipated), 2011, Vanderbilt University Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in State College, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and Louisville, Kentucky, Jessica arrived in Nashville in 2007 to matriculate at Vanderbilt University. In 2008, she began undergraduate research under the direction of Katherine Friedman, contributing to studies of telomerase and telomere length regulation in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition to completing this research as a part of the VU Beckman Scholars Program, she enjoys membership in the College Scholars and Chancellor's Scholars programs.
VU Beckman Scholar Mentor: Prof. Katherine Friedman, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Friedman began her research career as an undergraduate student at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Washington in Seattle and completed post-doctoral work with Dr. Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2001. Dr. Friedman's lab uses the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism to understand the replication of chromosome ends, or telomeres. Telomeres serve to protect chromosome ends from degradation and to facilitate complete chromosome replication. This replication is catalyzed by the enzyme telomerase. Recent evidence that the activation of telomerase plays a vital role in the growth of cancer cells has raised interest in the development of drugs that inhibit telomerase as potential cancer chemotherapeutics. Dr. Friedman's lab uses genetic and biochemical approaches to examine the structure, assembly, and regulation of yeast telomerase, with the long term goal of applying this knowledge to the development of strategies for the inactivation of telomerase in human cancer cells. Her lab is powered by a vigorous group of graduate and undergraduate researchers.