Brackenridge Introduction: Meghana Dodda

Hi everyone! My name is Meghana Dodda and I’m very excited to have been chosen as a Brackenridge fellow for the summer of 2022. My project focuses on the refinement of a novel peptide that aims to reduce tumor size in glioblastoma, and this research will be conducted under Dr. Baoli Hu, who is the director of the Brain Tumor Evolution & Therapy Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

This project, titled Potential Cure for Glioblastoma: Regioselective Peptide Development, is centered around finding a better way to treat glioblastomas, which are fast-growing and aggressive brain tumors that are the most common form of brain tumor in adults. However, with common cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation being ineffective against these tumors, it is essential to find better therapies that will advance current treatment methods. My lab has currently detected a novel peptide that is able to reduce tumor size by disrupting cell processes and reprogramming immune response within the tumor microenvironment. However, this peptide has only been tested within the mouse model, via direct injection to the brain. The goal of this project is to create and test a more regioselective peptide, one that can be administered via the tail vein of the mouse and still find its way to the tumor (located in the brain), because this approach is more appropriate for a human clinical model.

My goals right now are to attend medical school and pursue either psychiatry or radiology, as those are both areas of healthcare that I am very passionate about. Along the way, I aim to also advance clinical research as a physican-scientist, and I am hoping that being a Brackenridge fellow will not only teach me more about the inner workings and fine details of conducting research in a wet lab, but also how to communicate to a wide range of people about my work, to make it more accessible and understandable. I am also very excited for the opportunity to collaborate and connect with my peers this summer, learning more about their methods and utilizing the interdisciplinary skills I have learned to advance my own research and hopefully lend a helping hand to my peers when they need it!

As for more about me, I’m pursuing a Neuroscience and English Literature double major, because the connections that can be drawn in the field of Medical Humanities have always been fascinating to me. Another fun fact about me is that I am a member of Avaaz, a desi-fusion acapella team here at Pitt! I really value the connection it gives me to my culture and am very grateful for the family I have found within my team. I look forward to find another family this summer at Brackenridge through working with all the other incredible fellows and learning more about their work!

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