Project Title: Does vitamin D increase the potency of cancer drugs in breast cancer cells?

Faculty Sponsor: Jessica Kelts

Department: Chemistry/Biochemistry



Project Description: In this project, the researchers seek to determine if vitamin D acts in a synergistic fashion in concert with cytotoxic cancer drugs.  Breast cancer cells, particularly triple negative breast cancer cells, are used as the model cell lines for this study.  Researchers will care for cell lines, plate them, treat them with drugs and/or vitamin D, and monitor cell viability.

The major question is whether breast cancer cells treated with vitamin D die easier than controls without when treated with cancer drugs, like paclitaxel.  We will test this by treating cells with these drugs at various concentrations to determine IC50 values and repeat this with various concentrations of vitamin D included as well.  Cell viability will be measured by luminescent assay.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Maintaining their own cell line.  Plating and treating cells.  Conducting cell viability assays.  Analyzing their data.  Maintaining their laboratory notebook in a timely matter.  Operate under all safety rules in the lab.  Complete lab specific training in the lab.

Minimum Student Qualifications: Students will have already completed CHM 450 and CHM 451 before working in this lab.  Chemistry majors must have already completed their CHM 499 research credits before working in this lab as a UROP student.