Katelyn Kozma, Molecular Genetics

Katelyn KozmaKatelyn Kozma Year of Study: 3
Student’s Name: Katelyn Kozma
Undergraduate Department: Molecular Genetics
Pre-MSc/PhD Education: BSc.H University of Toronto (Double Major: Molecular Genetics & Global Health)
Country of Residence: Oakville ON, Canada

Why Faculty of Medicine/ This Department?
I completed my BSc at U of T with a major in Molecular Genetics. After being exposed to the cutting edge research being conducted by scientists in the department, I decided to pursue graduate school. Leaders in Biomedical Research, Molecular Genetics places high value on the academic training of their trainees. Being a part of UofT's Faculty of Medicine, enables the translation of findings from bench to clinic. Molecular Genetics spans diverse fields including everything from computational biology to microbiology to human genetics. This diversity combined with the close knit environment of the department cultivates invaluable collaborations between both trainees and researchers. Also to note: the rotation program, and PhD reclassification options provide students with a unique degree of flexibility during graduate school.

Recent Research Experience:
I completed my 4th yr thesis in Dr. Sean Egan’s lab where I participated in a large-scale transposon mutagenesis screen in the mouse mammary gland. The purpose of this screen was to identify genetic networks of events that promote tumor formation and metastatic dissemination in breast cancer.

Current Research Experience:
I chose to continue in Dr. Sean Egan’s lab for graduate school and just recently reclassified into the Ph.D. program. To model breast cancer in mice, the Egan lab uses tissue specific promoters to control oncogene overexpression and/or tumor suppressor deletion. By combining mutations in mammary epithelia we can test for cooperation between multiple pathways driving tumor progression/metastasis. Our lab developed a mouse model of invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) that combines 2 commonly occurring human mutations; Pik3ca activation and E-cadherin loss. This model recapitulates morphological features of human ILC and exhibits sensitivity to therapies targeting Pik3ca-related alterations. My current research involves characterizing mutations which promote metastatic dissemination of this model.

Future Education Plans and/or Career Goals:
After graduate school, I would like to continue a career in biomedical research. My interests lie in cancer & genetics and ultimately I would like to pursue a post doctoral fellowship in one of these specialities. Outside of academia, I am also interested in pursuing a career at a start-up or pharmaceutical /biotech company.

Contact Ambassador Katelyn Kozma