The mission of the Department of Cancer Biology is to discover the biological basis of cancer development and to understand how to target it for therapeutic benefit. One of the biggest advantages of Mayo Clinic is the proximity that we have and the closeness that we have between clinicians, surgeons and the scientists in the laboratory.
In my laboratory in particular, we studied brain tumors, we studied particularly glioblastoma. And we tried to study how the environment within the brain makes this tumor more aggressive. And we are doing this trying to find a target so we can find a way to stop it spreading within the brain so the surgeon can go and remove the tumor without having to wait for a recurrence.
Being here at Mayo, I get a chance to interact with other physician-scientists. They will tell me about some of the unmet needs in the clinic. I can then go back to the laboratory, and those unmet needs really drive the type of research that I do. And being here at Mayo, then it gives me the opportunity to then translate that back to the clinic.
The core of our training is when we bring the learners into our own laboratories and have them working at the bench on a real scientific problem. As a student, it's a really great opportunity to be taking courses where the different professors teaching different units of the course are at the cutting edge of the science in that field. I think it's a really great, vibrant learning environment that we're able to offer our learners at all levels really.
The Cancer Biology Department is an exciting place to be. We've got wonderful technologies that are being developed. We're learning a lot of basic science about how cancers are formed and how we can develop novel therapies for cancers. So there's lots of learning ongoing within each of the laboratories. We are in an incredible time of discovery. We can make a difference, and we can actually start curing cancers because we have the technologies. We have the bright minds who will not recognize the medical landscape from today in five to ten years with regards to the progress that's been made.
Our team specializes in mainly trying to find out how cancer moves and how it grows. Those engines that allow cancer cells to migrate and invade not only the brain but also the spine. So we've been specializing in understanding these molecular engines and at the same time inventing new therapies, being innovative by using stem cells, nanoparticles and many other tools that we're trying to utilize so that we can put the brakes on this cancer.
Our laboratory does a lot of work on looking at ways of stimulating the immune response in patients with cancer. By working with the different faculty in the Department of Cancer Biology, we really have exposure to a lot of different types of potential mechanisms that we can target to really help us generate an immune response against specific cancers wherever they're at in the body.
We're scientists that study problems with biological relevance, and the existence of these disparities imply the existence of pathways that we can target therapeutically. We're working with the patient populations that are present here at Mayo Clinic. Our community is diverse and all of our studies are linked to patient populations, to specific patients that we're hoping to treat.
Comprehensive studies are needed to fill the knowledge gap that we have between the different ethnicities and races. In cancer research and clinical trials, we are going to the very early phases of the disease and also what is called premalignant conditions. So we are putting a lot of effort trying to characterize those patients and see if we can predict, not only identify the genetic basis, but also predict which one of those will progress over time. And the ultimate goal is to help to provide new avenues to reduce the health disparities that we observe and see a lot of.
One of the unique things about working at the Mayo Clinic is being able to go into the laboratory, study things, but also at the same time, knowing that I may have a chance to really impact a patient's life at some point during my career.
I feel that I am constantly with our team exploring the universe, that every new discovery that we make in the laboratory will one day be translated back to the patient and also to our future generations. Not only am I being able to find cures for patients, but I am constantly through that work giving our patients hope, and that gives me hope that we can make the world a better place in the future.