Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

College of Pharmacy

My Story:   BPS Students Share Their Experiences

Dirim Arslan
Current Graduate Student

"...the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences provided me with not only an education, but also experiences and relationships that I would not have gained elsewhere."


When I joined the Biopharmaceutical Sciences PhD Training Program my career objective was to establish a strong background in cancer molecular biology. I have benefited a lot from the experience of studying in Biopharmaceutical Sciences and gained confidence to realize my dream in the near future.  In BPS, I have worked on important cancer research, which has been invaluable in my education. Recently, as a part of Dr. Beck’s research group, we showed that one of the splicing factors, PTBP1, is over expressed in epithelial ovarian cancer and this protein is associated with malignancy of ovarian tumors.  Moreover we showed that knockdown of PTB using shRNA technology suppresses growth and impairs malignant properties of ovarian cancer cells. That’s why ultimately my project aims to develop a cell-based high throughput assay to find a small molecule or molecules to inhibit PTB activity.

The multi-disciplinary background of the research and teaching faculty has given me a broad base to learn from.  I've learned about cancer biology and Pharmacology from Dr. Beck. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics from Dr. Jeong.  I've learned about drug delivery using nanotechnology and nanomedicine from Dr. Onyuksel.  I've learned about breast cancer, identification of therapeutic targets in breast cancer from work with Dr. Tonetti.  I've expanded my understanding of pharmacogenomics and molecular genetics from working with Dr. Wang.  I can’t imagine being able to perform responsible research without the multi-disciplinary background I have gotten.  And while the research base is broad, it is also incredibly in-depth, giving me the tools to be successful.

After spending a couple of years taking classes, teaching PharmD students, and conducting independent research under the supervision of my mentor, I can safely say that the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences provided me with not only an education, but also experiences and relationships that I would not have gained elsewhere.  With support from my advisor, I have presented my research findings at international and national conferences, including the American Associate of Cancer Research Annual Meetings, Annual Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meetings, the UIC Student Research Forum, and at regular Chicago Biomedical Consortium sponsored meetings.  Overall, the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences in UIC offers numerous opportunities to not only learn new skills but also to get to know your professors and colleagues better, including trips to student conferences, the journal clubs, and the departmental picnics and parties.

I continue to enjoy this active academic atmosphere.  I have broadened my view and prepared myself to become an independent ovarian cancer researcher in the academic setting, eventually making important and novel contributions to this field.

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