Cornell Chronicle Online

Search Chronicle Online

Lindsey Starr TreviƱo of La Joya, Texas, obtained a Ph.D. in molecular and integrative physiology
Why did you choose Cornell?
When I was applying to graduate schools, I was looking for a flexible program that would provide comprehensive and interdisciplinary training in the biomedical sciences. The Biological and Biomedical Sciences graduate program in the Vet College fit this description based on the collaborative nature of faculty, as well as the diverse courses and seminars.
Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I took the bellydance physical education course and fell in love with this dance form. Before Cornell, I never saw myself as a dancer of any kind, but now I can't imagine not having this hobby. It is a great way to release stress, and I have met some great friends who also love to dance.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I obtained a postdoctoral position at Baylor College of Medicine and have been there since October. I anticipate continuing my training there for several more years before I apply for faculty positions.
What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
I treasure my memories of the many festivals and fairs that I attended while at Cornell. I enjoyed watching the local performers, listening to good music and eating the delicious food. I even got the chance to perform bellydance with my friends at several of the festivals.
Why is your research area important/why are you passionate about it?
Because ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose early and as a result many women die of the disease every year. We need to find methods of early detection and more effective treatment regimens in order to decrease the mortality of the disease.
While at Cornell, what extracurricular activities or other accomplishments were important to you or you are most proud of?
I am proud of my involvement with Expanding Your Horizons (EYH). During my time at Cornell, I volunteered as a buddy, attending workshops with the girls to stimulate their interest in math and science, ran a workshop and also served as a co-chair of the Diversity Committee, because I believe that girls from all backgrounds, including those with unusual backgrounds, should have access to opportunities like EYH. Mentoring is an important way to increase diversity in the sciences, and I have benefited from the support and advice of mentors throughout my training. As a result, I viewed my interactions with undergraduate students as a chance for me to serve as a mentor. I hope that I had an impact, no matter how small, on them as my mentors had on me.
Do you have an unusual background in some way that has influenced your scholarship?
As a Hispanic who grew up and attended college in areas of Texas with large populations of Hispanics, coming to Ithaca was out of my comfort zone, and I suffered a little bit of culture shock. I got used to my surroundings in time, however, and believe that my experiences give me a unique perspective that can allow me to help other underrepresented students interested in pursuing graduate study in the sciences.
What does your dissertation or thesis cover?
My dissertation research focused on ovarian cancer in the hen, a spontaneous animal model of the disease. We have provided evidence that the oviduct is a possible site of origin of chicken ovarian tumors, ovulation is a significant initiating factor of the disease and that steroid hormones, particularly estrogen, may play a role in chicken ovarian tumor progression. Collectively, our studies provide information regarding the development and progression of ovarian cancer in the hen and may help us better understand the disease in women.