Erin E. Cygan, BA
BA, Biology and Biochemistry, Augustana College
Research: As an undergraduate, I worked as a research assistant to Dell Jensen, PhD, in the Department of Chemistry at Augustana College. My project was to customize the synthesis of 18-crown-6 and use this crown ether as a phase transfer catalyst. I was able to successfully synthesis 18-crown-6 through a multistep synthesis procedure and confirm its identity using NMR spectroscopy. I also interned at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. I worked in the lab of Christine Beeton, PhD, under the guidance of Mark R. Tanner, PhD My research project was to determine the role of the G protein-coupled receptor GPR56 in regulating the pathogenic phenotype of fibroblast-like synoviocytes during rheumatoid arthritis. During my internship I gained hands-on experience with tissue culture of primary human cells, in vitro functional assays (migration, cytokine secretion, and proliferation), siRNA transfection, and was introduced to flow cytometry. I joined the Zamora lab in March 2021. My objective is to identify tumor neoantigens with the eventual goal of engineering cell-based therapies to modulate the immune system to target cancer more effectively, thus expanding current cancer treatment options. I also have a longstanding interest in women’s health and hope to incorporate gynecologic cancer research into my studies while here at MCW.