Ten to Watch: Joy Wolfram, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute
Education: University of Helsinki, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
2009 Amgen Scholar
“Scientific breakthroughs have two components: crazy ideas and people with the courage to pursue them.”
Joy Wolfram is a postdoctoral fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute where she is working on drug delivery systems to directly target cancers. Her involvement in collaborative research between the U.S., China and European countries has led her to publish more than 30 scientific papers and be the recipient of over 20 academic awards. Joy finds inspiration in developing treatments that could benefit patients and hopes to soon run her own lab.
More from Joy Wolfram, Ph.D.:
“My vision of the future of science is dominated by multidisciplinary teams, digitalization and automation, and I am excited to be part of a generation that is the architect of this transformation.
My work involves approaching cancer treatment from a multidisciplinary perspective. One of the key themes in my research is using physics to understand cancer. I have developed drug delivery systems that can navigate through the body. For drugs to reach cancer cells, we need to address multiple obstacles including biological components (e.g. the blood vessel wall and cell membrane) and physics-based phenomena, such as fluid dynamics, pressure gradients and microenvironmental stiffness. My vision is to impact the future of cancer treatment by developing strategies to overcome these obstacles.
Cancer patients are the inspiration behind my research. Patients that have exhausted all their options frequently reach out to us in the hopes of finding a cure. Although clinical translation is an arduous process, the prospect of potentially providing new treatments for cancer patients acts as a catalyst that fuels my work and highlights the importance and urgency of our mission.
It was through the Amgen Scholars Program that my passion for cancer research was ignited. During the three months I spent at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, I took part in a project involving a newly discovered protein that increases cancer cell migration. This fascinating research led me to envision the practical applications of my work, fueling my desire to pursue translational cancer research.”
To learn more about the Amgen Scholars Program, please visit AmgenScholars.com and check out the #AmgenScholars hashtag on Twitter. Follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.