DEANNA PORRAS

Deanna earned her BSc. in Kinesiology & Health Science followed by her MSc. from York University in 2012 and 2015 respectively. After receiving her MSc. she worked as a research technician for both Zucara Therapeutics and Stem Cell Research Group. During her time at Zucara, she worked with a novel compound with the therapeutic potential to prevent hypoglycemia in people with diabetes who are insulin-dependent.  As a member of the Stem cell research group she looked at the effects of the retinoblastoma protein family on myogenic stem cell and adipogenic stem cell lineage determination.

Deanna’s project will focus on advancing our understanding of the molecular networks driving stepwise hematopoietic programming and the altered transcriptional programs underlying leukemic differentiation blockade. Using a novel library of a heterogeneous subset of human AML patient cells reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (AML-iPSCs) recently developed in our lab, her PhD dissertation aims to determine links between differentiation and epigenetic memory, and identify key genetic mutations responsible for disease pathogenesis.

In addition to running the PhD marathon, Deanna has run two actual marathons and is training for her first ultra marathon (50km) next year!