Maryam Kohram

Associate Research Scholar/CPBF Fellow

PhD in Physics 2021, University of Pittsburgh


My PhD thesis focused on understanding the control mechanisms underlying self-replication and senescence in bacteria at the single-cell level. I quantitatively characterized the variability in the dynamical parameters of growth and division processes, how this variability is controlled, and how divergence is prevented over the long run. I spent time in nanofabrication facilities designing and creating new microfluidic machines which I used to measure long-term traces of the growth and death of single bacterial cells. Now, I am excited to apply the knowledge which I gained during my PhD to understand the proliferation, invasion, and metastatic cascade in cancer cells. These features can play an important role in cancer progression and therapeutic response. The study of replicative immortality and senescence of cancer cells in vitro also interest me both on a single cell level and in an engineered tumor. The main questions I aim to focus on are: what is different in the dynamical quantities of metastatic cells? Can we improve drug administration by studying the non-genetic variability in growth and division parameters of heterogeneous cancer cells in a colony? How does tumor microenvironment affect non-genetic heterogeneity between tumor cells?