Nicolaes Hyun-Kee Min

I am a 5th year PhD student in Dr. Xi Huang’s lab at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Our lab studies the function of ion channels in brain tumors. More recently we have been delving into how mechanical stimuli and mechanically activated ion channels regulate brain tumor progression, maintenance, and metastasis. My focus is on medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. I observe how medulloblastoma cells sense and respond to fluid shear stress from cerebrospinal fluid flow, and whether it affects their metastatic potential.

I built a foundation for research during my undergraduate training in the laboratory of Dr. Dinesh Christendat at University of Toronto. I led an independent project biochemically characterizing plant metabolic enzymes, during which I was drawn to the novel exploration and discovery of aspects research. I had decided then to pursue graduate studies and a career path in science. I wanted to perform basic research with translational potential that could benefit patients’ lives, so I joined Dr. Xi Huang’s lab at the Hospital for Sick Children to study brain tumors. During my studies, I have become captivated by cell and mechanobiology. I find it fascinating that cells employ molecular tools to sense their physical surrounding and tune their behavior, just like we humans do using our sense of touch. My other areas of interests are oncology, molecular biology, and biomedical engineering.

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