Rebecca Gee came to St. Jude to explore translational research, connecting new scientific knowledge with medical applications to improve diagnostic techniques and treatments for patients.
Gee earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry in 2014 and a master’s degree in biology in 2017 from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Her research there focused on understanding the structural and biochemical mechanisms that regulate the function of TCL, a GTPase involved in cytoskeleton signaling pathways and a potential chemotherapy target.
Until 2020, Gee worked in the lab of Ryan Potts, PhD, Cell and Molecular Biology, where she was involved in investigating the function of the large MAGE protein family in cellular signaling events and how these proteins contribute to tumorigenesis. She used various approaches, including functional genomics, biochemistry, cell biology and proteomics. She earned her master’s degree from the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in June 2019.
Gee is currently pursuing her thesis in the lab of Taosheng Chen, PhD, PMP, Chemical Biology & Therapeutics Department. Her research focuses on the regulation of PXR and CAR (nuclear receptors), and CYP3A (drug–metabolizing enzymes) in drug toxicity, drug resistance, and human diseases. She is involved in developing chemical probes and therapeutic leads for PXR, CAR, and CYP3A.
“One of the most compelling things about this PhD program is the unique experience of interacting with patients and clinical research faculty,” she says. “The emphasis on close-working collaborative relationships between clinicians and laboratory researchers represents a rare opportunity to directly influence the health of patients through clinical trials in progress at St. Jude.”
Hometown: Spencer, Iowa
Dissertation: Investigation into the Mechanisms that Regulate PXR Protein Levels
Wang J, Bwayi M, Gee RRF, Chen T. PXR-mediated idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury: Mechanistic insights and targeting approaches. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. Jun 16;1-12, 2020. doi: 10.1080/17425255.2020.1779701.
Ackerman KL, Florke RR, Reyes SS, Tader BR, Hamann MJ. TCL/RhoJ Plasma Membrane Localization and Nucleotide Exchange is Coordinately Regulated by Amino Acids Within the N-terminus and a Distal Loop Region. J Biol Chem. 291(45): 23604-617, 2016.
Florke RR, Young GT, Hamann MJ. Unraveling a Model of TCL/RhoJ Allosterism Using TC10 Reverse Chimeras. Small GTPases. 11: 1-8, 2017.