Another year has come and (almost) gone. I’ve been on sabbatical working in the lab myself this semester so the last week of classes has really snuck up on me. However, I am excited to once again share with you the remarkable graduating seniors of the class of 2022 who have been a part of the Pollock lab over their time at UR. Like the class of 2021, their time in the research lab has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but when I reflect on how much they have been able to accomplish and their attitudes throughout it all, I continue to be amazed.

 

Up first is Than Thar Aye. Than Thar only joined the lab during her senior year; as an international student, she was remote for her entire junior year. However, I had taught her in biochemistry lecture in fall 2020 and witnessed her organization, scientific mind, and motivation. So when she reached out to me inquiring about doing an honor’s thesis in the lab, I knew she would be successful. What I didn’t know is that she would be so productive and thoughtful in her project. She joined a collaborative project with Dr. Mike Norris and expanded our studies of some anticancer compounds to glioblastoma cells. She took the lead in thinking about how to cross the blood-brain-barrier and established new-to-us protocols to test for lipophilicity of the compounds. And I can say without a doubt that her notebook is the neatest I have ever seen – I wish I had as clear of handwriting as her 🙂 My only regret is that Than Thar is graduating before she had the opportunity to stay for a summer of research. I have enjoyed getting to know her more over the course of the past two semesters. I know she will be successful in whatever job she lands after graduation and eventually in graduate school!

Let’s hear from Than Thar as she reflects on her experiences:

1. Why did you decide to join the Pollock lab?

Than Thar: After taking a remote biochemistry class with Dr. Pollock and learning about cancer research that the Pollock lab has been working on through her blog, I was very eager to join the lab and immediately contacted Dr. Pollock. One of the biggest reasons why I was especially attracted to the Pollock lab is because cancer is a disease that sounds very familiar, yet there is so much more to understand about it, and I wanted to gain hands-on experience in cancer research.

2. What was your favorite part about your research experience?

Than Thar: My favorite part of research in the Pollock lab was working with brain cancer cell culture and using different metal-based compounds to kill them in vitro. It was fascinating how the destruction of cancer cells can be physically observed both under the microscope and also from fluorescence data.

3. What do you plan to do after graduation?

Than Thar: I plan to either keep working on cancer research or join clinical setting.

4. As you reflect back on your time at University of Richmond, what advice would you give to an incoming student who was interested in your career path?

Than Thar: Don’t give up!

Than Thar – Thank you for reaching out to join the lab! I am amazed by what you have done and am excited to see what you will accomplish. Keep in touch! I’m rooting for you always.

~jap

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