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Grad Student First Author on Study That Could Help Design Cancer, Disease Treatments

September 25, 2018Jenny England (G’18), a biochemistry and biophysics Ph.D. candidate, is first author on a new paper on protein regulation in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, with fellow doctoral candidates Yuxin Hao, Lihui Bai, alumna Virginia Glick (C'18), chemistry professor Rodrigo Maillard and scholars in Texas and California, has important implications in the quest to identify new treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Jenny England standing in front of the Georgetown science buildingMaster’s Degree: Virginia Tech, polymer chemistry, 2011

Honors: Clare Boothe Luce Fellow, 2016-2018

Hometown: Centreville, Virginia; now lives in Alexandria

Family: Husband Jonas and 1-year-old daughter Emerson

Teaching experience: From 2011-2013, England taught AP chemistry at the Governor's School @ Innovation Park, a collaborative STEM initiative of Manassas City, Manassas Park City and Prince William County Public Schools with George Mason University.

Why a Georgetown Ph.D.?

“Although I loved my students at the Governor’s School, and was fortunate to have such an amazing teaching position, I missed the research aspect of science. I came to Georgetown to pursue my Ph.D. because of the reputation, prestige and location of the university.”

The research: England notes that proteins tightly regulate all the processes in our body and that cancer and other diseases result when these proteins fail to regulate.

“One way that we can begin to understand how cancer and disease result from these failures is by understanding the fundamental mechanism by which these proteins regulate these processes. My research directly investigates this by providing a fundamental answer as to how proteins are regulating these processes. An understanding of this regulation can be used to design drugs that would target these proteins.”

Been a first author before?

“I have a couple of second author publications, but this is my first ‘first’ author paper. It felt like such a great accomplishment, given that I had my daughter within one year of the paper's publication. This of course was made possible by the help and guidance from my advisor and fellow co-authors. I could not have done this without their help and support.”

On Rodrigo Maillard:

“He has always pushed me to be the best and is a very supportive and wonderful advisor.”

After graduation: England hopes to eventually work for a biotechnology company or become a principal investigator.

On Georgetown women and STEM:

“I feel so fortunate that I have had such amazing female group members that were so supportive during my path towards the publication and during all my time at graduate school. Science is hard enough and having a supportive tribe of other women in the STEM/science field can make a huge difference.”