Maria D. Sanchez-Pino, PhD

Maria D. Sanchez-Pino, PhD

Assistant Professor
Louisiana State University Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
New Orleans, Louisiana

Abstract 2121. Gene expression and functional characterization of obesity-induced MDSC to uncover the link between obesity and cancer risk. 

What are your long-term goals?

My long-term scientific goals are to become 1) a leader in the discovery of molecular mechanisms of obesity-induced inflammatory processes associated with cancer progression, and 2) an independent extramurally funded investigator to enable academic advancement and tenure from my current status as a junior faculty member.

Please share information about how the pandemic has impacted your research over the last two years.

Since my studies are focused on the role of inflammation in obesity as a link to cancer progression, the biggest challenge in my research has been the difficulty of accessing and enrolling non-infected patients with obesity, given their anti-viral inflammatory response. However, because of the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on patients with obesity and metabolic dysfunction, the pandemic also allowed me to participate in a collaborative study resulting in a published manuscript. Additionally, excellence and productivity in research also depend on emotional strength, which was not only affected by the social challenges that we were forced to face but also by having my both parents infected and hospitalized – and fortunately recovered – in my native country Colombia, without the possibility to join my family because of the travel restrictions.