Luke Wylie, Graduate Student
Luke Wylie’s academic career began in the arts as an aspiring music composer. However, after watching his father go through the trials of cancer chemotherapy, his career goals shifted toward medicine. During his time as an undergraduate at UCSD, researcher at the Salk Institute, and medical student at Johns Hopkins, he became enthralled with the complexities of human nervous system. In 2009 he was awarded the American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Research Scholarship, where he elucidated fundamental pathways in neural development of the peripheral nervous system.
Neuroblastoma appears to be a tumor that arises from errors in neural development creating neural stem cells that have forgotten how to halt proliferation and differentiate in mature neurons. By forging a transatlantic collaboration between the NIH and the University of Cambridge Luke aims to translate fundamental knowledge in how the nervous system develops to potential treatments for neuroblastoma. In the laboratory of Dr. Anna Philpott at Cambridge, he plans to unravel how certain “proneural” proteins regulate cell cycle exit and neuronal differentiation. These findings will then serve as groundwork for studies in Dr. Carol Thiele’s laboratory at the NIH to understand why neuroblastoma fails to leave it’s stem-cell-like state, and how to prod those cells to become mature neurons.