August 01, 2019

Anna Mykytyn ’20 received a highly competitive fellowship to conduct research on cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The graduate school’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program brings undergraduate students together with doctoral candidates to make new discoveries in cancer biology — a mission Mykytyn is passionate about.

“It’s so exciting to conduct research that could lead to therapies in the future,” said the biochemistry major from Ellicott City, Maryland. “That’s one thing I really like about the Mayo Clinic — the research is focused on making discoveries that can improve patients’ lives.”

Mykytyn’s research studies endocrine resistance in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

“Specifically, I am interested in learning about the mechanisms underlying cancer and its progression so that we can develop better drugs to target parts of those underlying processes,” she explained.

Having conducted research at SU last summer, Mykytyn knows what it takes to thrive in her environment.

“My research advisor at Susquehanna, Dr. Pavithra Vivekanand, greatly prepared me as she helped me become independent in the lab and encouraged me to be inquisitive, which I realize is so important in Ph.D. students,” Mykytyn said. “You develop your own project and constantly ask questions to determine which experiments to perform next.”

When she began her undergraduate journey, Mykytyn was unsure of the career path she intended to pursue after Susquehanna. Today, her research with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has brought her both clarity and future opportunity, as approximately one-fourth of all graduate students from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are past research fellowship recipients.

“I definitely plan to apply here for graduate school and know that I want to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology,” she said.