Human Science Senior Plans Career as Cancer Researcher, Physician
October 31, 2018 – Senior human science major Lindsay Caprio (NHS’19) has spent her undergraduate years building her skills in laboratory research. She hopes to enter a MD-PhD program upon graduation from Georgetown with the goal of being a pediatric oncologist and cancer researcher. She is an active volunteer and enjoys her work with Catholic Ministry on campus.
Question: Where are you from originally?
Caprio: I’m from Pittsburgh and have three siblings. I’ve grown up as a huge fan of our city’s sports teams, especially my Pittsburgh Pirates.
Question: How have you enjoyed Georgetown and the human science major?
Georgetown has given me a supportive network of friends who have greatly impacted my life. These are people who I now cannot imagine my life without, as they have all helped me to grow as a person and have made my experience at Georgetown an immensely positive one.
Georgetown has shaped me both within and outside of the classroom. My education has challenged my mind and pushed me to achieve more than I thought I could ever imagine. In addition, my education and experiences here have also challenged me to become a more active citizen outside of the classroom.
I love the human science major. We learn all about the biology that’s relevant to human health and disease, which is highly relevant to anyone who wants to become a physician. The close-knit relationships between students and faculty in our major have also made my experience at Georgetown quite special.
Question: Tell us a little bit about the research you’ve worked on at Georgetown.
Caprio: Since my sophomore fall semester, I’ve been working in Dr. Joanna Kitlinska’s and Dr. Jason Tilan’s laboratory. I research advanced-stage neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer that currently has a dismal prognosis. Our lab group is working to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that enable these neuroblastoma tumor cells to migrate, invade, and resist chemotherapy. All of these processes result in the poor outcomes that are seen in the clinic.
Question: How did you get involved in research, and where have you been able to discuss your work?
Caprio: I had been referred to Dr. Tilan after having done some data analysis for one of my professors during my first year at Georgetown, Dr. J.P. Hyatt. Dr. Tilan had me read some papers and come to lab. After I told him what I understood from the papers, he, Dr. Kitlinska, and I talked. I joined the lab the following fall.
I’ve presented this research at multiple conferences. I presented posters at Georgetown’s Undergraduate Research Conferences in 2017 and 2018, and I gave an oral presentation at the 2018 conference. I presented posters at the American Association of Cancer Research’s student caucus in spring 2018, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital National Symposium of Undergraduate Research in summer 2018, and the DMV chapter of the American Physiological Society (APS) meetings in fall 2017 and fall 2018. I won awards for my poster presentation at both Georgetown conferences and the most recent APS conference.
Question: What other activities are you involved in at Georgetown?
Caprio: Currently, I volunteer at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center with the Arts and Humanities Program, and I am also involved with the Catholic Women at Georgetown group. In the past, I’ve coordinated service activities as part of Georgetown’s Relay for Life Chapter, driving to Baltimore and cooking for patients at the American Cancer Society’s hope lodge. I also have been involved in retreats and service activities with Georgetown’s Catholic Ministry. Going to school in DC has also fostered my passion for running. I’ve run the Navy Air-Force half marathon and have learned much of my way around the city just by running.
Question: What are your plans for the future?
Caprio: I’m applying to MD-PhD programs this cycle. With this dual degree, I hope to practice as a pediatric oncologist and perform research that investigates mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to therapies.