Ashley Zurawel

  • Supattapone Lab '16

  • Resident, Lurie Children's Hospital/Northwestern Medical Center

I did my graduate training in the MCB program at Dartmouth College in the laboratory of Surachai Supattapone, completing my PhD in 2016. In the Supattapone Lab, I studied the interface of the conversion between the PrPC protein, which is normally expressed on the surface of cells, and the PrPSC protein, which is the pathogenic conformer. This work was published in Biochemistry (2014 Jan 12; 53(1): 68-76). I became interested in how protein folding environments can influence disease pathogenesis, focusing on Huntington's disease. This led to a project in collaboration with the Moseley Lab, resulting in the publication "CAG-Expansions Are Genetically Stable and Form Non-Toxic Aggregates in Cells Lacking Endogenous Polyglutamine Proteins," published in mBio (2016 Sep 27;7(5)). This evolved into a proteomics study done in collaboration with the Kettenbach and Cheng Labs, published in Scientific Reports (2018 Jun 22;8(1):95554). While I was a graduate student in the Supattapone lab, I became interested in pursuing a career as a physician-scientist. Dr. Supattapone is an outstanding mentor beyond being an outstanding physician-scientist; he exemplifies the Dartmouth MCB community. I went on to study medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where I continued to do research as a medical student. Combining my training in biochemistry and my passion for childhood health, I completed my Longitudinal Research Project in pediatric hematology and oncology. I was fortunate to work in the laboratory of Dr. Linda McAllister-Lucas, Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I am currently a resident physician in the Physician-Scientist Training Program at Lurie Children's Hospital/Northwestern Medical Center, which supports my training as a pediatric resident and as a scientist. In the future, I hope to continue to do research as well as practice clinical medicine in an academic setting. The MCB program at Dartmouth has provided me with the training required to be an excellent scientist, and beyond that, the opportunity to be immersed in an enriching, collegial community. While an MCB student, in addition to doing research, I had the opportunity to become involved in Graduate Student Council and was able to keep up my love of the outdoors as a downhill and cross-country skier, swimmer, rower and runner. I am very grateful for my time in the MCB program at Dartmouth, which shaped not only my career, but also my critical thinking abilities and my personal development.

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