James L. Carmon Scholarship Award 2012
Celine Hong, PhD candidate in the Institute of Bioinformatics, uses innovative ideas and cutting-edge computational methods to address biological problems related to cancer. One of the main topics in Hong’s research is to find a way to enhance cancer diagnosis by identifying biomarkers that can be used to detect the disease at an early stage. Her first project was to develop a computational method for predicting excreted protein to find non-invasive biomarkers in urine. Using experimental techniques to complement her computational prediction, such as western blots and antibody arrays, her work led to the discovery that a protein called endothelial lipase is greatly suppressed in urine from gastric cancer patients versus control. This non-invasive method of testing shows great promise as a diagnostic tool for other types of cancer and a variety of other diseases. Hong has continued her studies with a focus on finding microRNA biomarkers, as well as studying the apoptosis pathways in cancer cells. She is developing and applying novel computational techniques to make meaningful discoveries in her research.