Superfund Research Program
Heejeong Son spent the summer of 2010 conducting research under the guidance of Bernhard Hennig, Ph.D. She investigated whether the exposure of human cerebrovascular endothelial cells to PCBs can induce the disruption of tight junction protein that will lead to inflammation of the cells and, eventually, cancer. To perform this research, Heejeong had to learn several laboratory techniques, such as western blotting, and she was glad that preliminary results supported her hypothesis.
Heejeong's experience in Dr. Toborek's laboratory helped her to learn many different techniques regarding experiments as well as learning about functions of cells. She finally had a chance to perform western-blot starting from culturing cells to developing films. In addition, connecting two different experiments, western-blot to measure tight junctions and PCB treated cell adhesion, caused Heejeong to realize that one sample of cultivated cells can go into many different directions to form more hypotheses about science. In the future, Heejeong am planning on to going into a field that involves cancer. Therefore, experimenting with cancer cells and knowing more about their characteristics allowed her to be more familiar with them. Overall, Heejeong really enjoyed the opportunity that was provided for me to pursue my goal in the future.