Nadia Alissa is a 2018-2022 Self Graduate Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Alissa received a B.Sc. (2014) in medical laboratory sciences and a M.Sc. (2016) in clinical microbiology and immunology from Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). Alissa is interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that control the skeletal muscle wasting that is often associated with breast cancer progression. Skeletal muscle wasting is seen in up to 40% of breast cancer patients and greatly limits the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs, effectively reducing patient survival rates. Currently, there is no standardized diagnosis for cachexia and this condition is both understudied and under reported in breast cancer due to a lack of preclinical models. With her research, Alissa hopes to increase understanding of this chronic condition in breast cancer. This work will provide potential insights into new therapeutic strategies to prevent chemokine-induced skeletal muscle wasting and increase tolerance of breast cancer patients to anti-cancer drugs.
Mentor: Nikki Cheng, Associate Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine