For Brittany Pioso, her draw towards science began with her father’s diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) when she was a child. She now aspires to continue research in catastrophic diseases in the hopes that she can one day significantly contribute towards the field and development of a cure.
Pioso earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2019 from the University of Georgia in Athens. She spent three years in an x-ray crystallography lab studying the structure and function of an allosteric enzyme, human UDP-Glucose dehydrogenase (hUGDH).
Pioso currently works in the lab of Richard Kriwacki, PhD, in the Department of Structural Biology. The lab studies liquid-liquid phase separation by fusion oncoproteins (FOs) that are drivers in a variety of pediatric cancers. Her goal is to use in vitro and cellular phase separation assays along with assays to probe chromatin structure and function to understand the origins of the gene regulatory specificity of NUP98 fusion oncoproteins.
“Doing research at a place like St. Jude where you’re surrounded by children that have benefited from the work done here is something that I am so grateful and fortunate to experience,” she says. “I know that everything I learn here will set me up for success.”
Hometown: Lilburn, Georgia
Beattie, N. R., Pioso, B. J., Sidlo, A. M., Keul, N. D. & Wood, Z. A. Hysteresis and Allostery in Human UDP-Glucose Dehydrogenase Require a Flexible Protein Core. Biochemistry 57:6848-6859, 2019. doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00497