Lauren F Cole

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Eastern

  • Organization
    Northeastern University

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study the medicinal plant, Catharanthus roseus, commonly known as Madagascar Periwinkle. C. roseus is the only plant in the world that makes the important anti-cancer compounds, vinblastine and vincristine, which are currently used to successfully treat lymphoma. I am interested in understanding what transcription factor proteins are involved in activating or repressing the biosynthesis of vinblastine. If we can identify transcription factors, we might be able to genetically engineer plants that produce more vinblastine, bringing down the cost of this life-saving drug.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I love feeling like I am an explorer at the edge of knowledge. When you are a scientist, you get to ask questions that nobody knows the answer to. After a lot of hard work, you can find an answer, and it is like you have a secret about life that nobody else knows, which you then get to share with others. I also love reading and hearing about what other people are discovering.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is tough about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Science is very slow and involves a lot of failure. You may get excited about answering a certain question, but it may take months or years before you are able to answer it, which can be very frustrating.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Catharanthus roseus! It makes an extraordinarily complex molecule that is deadly for insects and cancer cells, and it is also a very pretty plant that you can find in many gardens.

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    2

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