Elizabeth Stanford

Boston University School of Public Health

Elizabeth Stanford graduated magna cum laude from Union College in New York with a double major in Biology and Anthropology. She then went on to receive her Masters in Public Health with a focus in Environmental Health in 2011 from Boston University.

During that time, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. David Sherr as a research assistant, studying the effects of environmental pollutants on breast cancer cells though an environmental receptor called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR).

In the fall of 2011, Elizabeth enrolled in a PhD program in Molecular Medicine at Boston University, and continued her research in Dr. Sherr’s laboratory. She is currently studying the effect of environmental pollutants on breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). BCSCs represent a small percentage of the whole tumor, but are believed to be extremely resistant to current chemothera-peutics and, thereby, to be responsible for the recurrence and lethal spread of cancer cells after treatment.

Preliminary findings by Elizabeth have shown that activating the AhR with environmental pollutants may lead to the development and/or maintenance of these BCSCs. Understanding the contribution of this environmental chemical receptor to BCSCs will help us better understand the basic molecular biology of this important cancer cell subset and to assess the contribution of environmental chemicals to BCSC development and survival.