Meet a cancer researcher: Matt Petroski

By Kristina Meek
March 20, 2012
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Meet Matthew Petroski, Ph.D., assistant professor in Sanford-Burnham’s NCI-designated Cancer Center.

1. What inspired you to pursue cancer research?

I’ve been inspired by the scientists I’ve had the privilege of working with throughout my career. I don’t think there is any other profession where you can find such highly motivated, energetic, and creative people. The discoveries in the lab might seem esoteric sometimes, but there is a real chance they could help cancer patients. I know that we can figure out better treatments and that’s something I want to try to do.

2.  What do you do?

My lab works on a small protein known as ubiquitin. Ubiquitin tags proteins for destruction when they are no longer needed by cells. Cancer cells have numerous changes in this tagging system and are also more reliant on it than normal cells. We are trying to figure out new ways to exploit specific differences for cancer therapies. We are also studying how cancer cells respond to experimental drugs that interfere with ubiquitin’s functions. We are trying to predict as early as possible how these drugs might affect patients to help improve them.

(Editor’s note: Read more about Dr. Petroski’s research in this blog post: Cancer drug’s secret to resistance)

3.  What would you do with an extra $1 million for your research?

That’s easy! I would take a break from writing grants. An extra $1 million would provide me with more time to develop new ideas and allow me to spend time doing experiments in the lab instead of writing about them in my office.

Check back soon, or subscribe to this blog, to read more from the cancer researchers working each day to realize Sanford-Burnham’s motto, “From Research, the Power to Cure.”

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Kristina Meek

Kristina was an SBP Communications staff member.

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