On May 25, Assistant Professor Christina Towers shared with the Salkexcellerators how she is using a combination of DNA-editing techniques, light-based genetic manipulation (optogenetics), three-dimensional miniature organs (organoids) and detailed imaging to uncover how cancer cells survive by recycling both their own nutrients and the power-generating structures called mitochondria. Her goal is to work with local clinicians to develop targeted cancer therapies that can block the cancer cell recycling pathways that allow these cells to survive. Towers’ research could lead to methods to reduce cancer recurrence and improve outcomes for patients with cancer. Salkexcellerators are the next generation of community members who support scientific discovery at Salk and engage with scientists through a full schedule of activities.

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