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Mon 5/2, 2022, 7:30pm
Town Hall Seattle and UW Engage Science present
Nicole Gregorio, Alex Neitz, and Connor Krolak
UW Engage Science 2022

UW Engage Science trains today’s graduate students in cutting-edge communication skills in order to reconnect the public with science and bring about a more informed tomorrow. Join us for a look at the forefront of research in our region and meet the students who are leading the latest wave of scientific discovery.


Nicole Gregorio: Improving disease treatments by capturing cells in Jell-O

Bio: Nicole Gregorio (she/her) is a second year PhD student in bioengineering at the University of Washington. She is developing new, Jell-O-like materials that help us better understand cells and disease. These materials are also a key part of improving disease treatments that help the body regenerate itself.

Description: Medical advances over the last century have helped people better survive diseases like heart attacks, cancer, and more. But many of these treatments fail to address the damage to the body that is left behind in survivors. Regenerative medicine seeks to improve treatments for a variety of diseases by helping the body to replace the damaged cells and tissues. Many of these therapies seek to deliver new, healthy cells, but keeping the cells safe and happy as they integrate into the body is not easy. This is where Nicole’s work to develop new materials for cell therapies comes in!


Alex Neitz: Harnessing the sunset to cure seasonal depression

Bio: Alex Neitz (she/her) is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. Her research looks at how organisms act as clocks to predict daily variations in their environment. She is interested in how the modern environment affects the timing of these inner clocks in humans to cause Seasonal Affective Disorder and what we can do to prevent it.

Description: If you suffer from seasonal depression you probably know that the best solution is to increase sun exposure, either by traveling somewhere sunnier, or artificially with sunlamps. But not all sunlamps are equally good at preventing seasonal depression. Looking at what makes up sunlight and examining how our bodies respond to it will help inform inventions of new sunlamps to prevent or cure seasonal depression.


Connor Krolak: Improving liver cancer diagnosis with ultrasound

Bio: Connor Krolak (he/him) is a 2nd year Bioengineering Ph.D. student studying how ultrasound can be used to better diagnose and treat cancer. He is currently focusing on the use of ultrasound to diagnose a particularly difficult type of liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma.

Description: Hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, is an incredibly deadly type of liver cancer. HCC is the 4th leading cause of cancer related deaths worldwide, and has the fastest growing number of cases for any cancer in the United States. By taking pictures of blood flow of these tumors using ultrasound, as well as tiny bubbles called microbubbles, Connor hopes to improve the accuracy of diagnosis for this cancer and to catch it at an earlier stage. Through this work, he hopes to improve the lives of people who experience this dangerous form of liver cancer and provide them with better treatment options.


Presented by Town Hall Seattle and UW Engage Science.

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