Heba El-Ahmad

Student NameHeba El-Ahmad
Faculty Mentor NameAnn Progulske-Fox, PhD
CollegeCollege of Dentistry
MajorMicrobiology and Cell Sciences
Research InterestsOral cancer, oral microbiome
Academic AwardsCALS Dean’s List, 2019
CALS Scholarship, 2019-2020
University Scholars Program, 2020
OrganizationsGators for Refugee Medical Relief (GRMR)
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
Hobbies and InterestsPainting, reading, learning more about the microbiome!

Research Project

Identification and Characterization of Exosomes in oral Cancer?

We hypothesize that distinct cancer cell derived exosomal cargo modulates the tumorigenecity as well as metastasis in oral cancer. This project aims to demonstrate and biologically characterize these types of exosomes in oral cancer. Numerous studies have shown that exosomes play a vital role in cancer metastasis, namely, contributing in forming the premetastatic niche, influencing tumor cells and microenvironment, and determining specific organotropic metastasis. Exosomes are observed to have the ability to transfer nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids from parent cells to recipient cells in three ways including surface receptor binding, membrane fusion with target cells, or vesicle internalization, later influencing the cellular functions, but their role in oral cancer is yet to be fully understood.