Donors Make a Difference: Ana María Hincapié, recipient of the Cole Foundation studentship

Discover Ana's research on B lymphocytes, its impact on cancer patients, and how a studentship from the Cole Foundation has made a difference in her life.

As a Ph.D. student, my main focus has been to study B lymphocytes. B lymphocytes are antibody-producing cells of the immune system, so they are crucial in the response to infection. However, when B cell responses are dysregulated, diseases such as B-cell-derived lymphomas and autoimmune disorders can arise. B cell lymphomas often exhibit overactivation of signaling pathways that lead to B cell activation. Moreover, patients with certain autoimmune diseases are at a higher risk of developing B cell lymphomas, highlighting the importance of B cell regulation.

Currently, the specific molecular mechanisms that drive the pathogenesis of certain B cell lymphomas and related autoimmunity remain unknown, hindering the development of effective treatments. With my research, I aim to better understand the signaling pathways that regulate B cell development and activation, specifically focusing on uncovering novel proteins that play a role in the regulation of B cell responses. This way, we will be able to identify some novel drug targets for the treatment of lymphomas and/or autoimmune diseases, which would represent an important advance in this field. These novel treatments could also lead to the improvement of the life quality of affected patients.

I am a recipient of the Cole Foundation studentship, which supports students whose research focuses on the development of clinical care for patients affected by leukemia and lymphoma. I am extremely grateful for this funding because it not only supports my Ph.D. studies for two years, but it allows me to pursue research in a field that I am very passionate about. Moreover, all recipients of this studentship gather yearly at the Cole Foundation Research Celebration Day. This event provides me with an enriching opportunity to network with other scientists and to learn about the latest advances in the field.

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