Undergraduate Research

Research Rookies Student Profiles

evan wittke

Name: Evan Wittke

Cohort: Continuing Research Rookie

Major: Biological Sciences

Hometown: Waterman, Illinois

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Barrie Bode

Follow Evan's blog

Project Title: Correlating LAT1 Expression with 3-BromoPyruvate Sensitivity and Testing HCC Sensitivity to Melphalan, Brasilicardin, and BCH

Overview: Over the past few years, cancer researchers have targeted amino acid transporters as prime candidates for chemotherapy delivery, tumor imaging and diagnostic/prognostic and therapeutic markers. One particular amino acid transporter that has been studied by many labs including that of Dr. Bode is LAT1. LAT1, or L-type amino acid transporter 1, is a part of System L, the major nutrient transport system responsible for the transport of large neutral amino acids including several essential amino acids. Amino acid transporters are found within normal cellular membranes where they import amino acids necessary for the growth and reproduction of a cell. In conjunction with several metabolic processes, these transporters establish the cell’s metabolic foundation necessary for cellular proliferation. LAT1 represents an extremely important step in understanding and eventually exploiting cancer physiology and nutrition. Therefore, this unique expression of the transporter offers researchers a chance to probe the responses of HCC lines to particular environmental stresses.

Evan on what being a Research Rookie means: “Being a Research Rookie means that I am able to build a solid foundation to my academic career and expand my research abilities. This opportunity has afforded me the ability to strive for success in the laboratory and classroom.”