Cancer. The word itself, perhaps, is one of the most feared in the English language. And the statistic presented in the description of the First-Year Seminar (FYS) that Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Lanni is teaching this fall is shocking: “Forty percent of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during our lifetime.” One of the biggest questions is: Are we getting anywhere in dealing with the disease? In the FYS “Cancer: Exploring the Enemy Within,” the professor and her students are delving into this question and others during the fall semester. We recently talked with her about the subject that touches too many lives.
First, what is the primary focus of your scholarship?
I am interested in how vertebrates grow. For instance, why do our arms grow to a certain length and then stop? I study this question using zebrafish, a tiny two-inch-long fish that shares over 60 percent of our genes. By comparing long-finned fish to normal fish, I hope to identify the genetic and biochemical signals that control size and proportion. [Read more...]