Programs recipients

Tim Fessenden 2010 - 2011 Bernice Goldblatt Fellow

2010 - 2011 Bernice Goldblatt Fellow

The gift from the Goldblatts has provided me with an unparalleled opportunity in my scientific career. Doctoral degrees are a time of exploration, risk-taking, and maturation into a true scientist. Since arriving here I have done quite a bit of all of these. My time at the University of Chicago has thus far been more than I could have hoped for. It is allowing me to develop the interdisciplinary approaches I have so admired in the work of others. The support I receive has made possible my foray into a very new and exciting arena for understanding cancer.
I study the mechanical interactions among cells and their surroundings, and how these interactions are altered during initiation and progression of breast cancer. In doing so, I am building on my previous experience working in a breast cancer lab at UCSF to apply biophysical techniques toward a better understanding of breast cancer. I’m specifically interested in why some benign lesions progress to cancer, and how cancer cells invade their surroundings and metastasize. These are areas of cancer biology in which mechanical properties have a demonstrated role, but deeper understanding is lacking. Currently I am investigating how the movement of sheets of cells relies on tension—cells tugging constantly on their neighbors and on the underlying surface.