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American Society for Mass Spectrometry Grants Travel Award to Clarkson University Doctoral Student Studying Breast Cancer

Clarkson University chemistry and biomolecular science doctoral student Roshanak Aslebagh recently received a travel award from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Roshanak AslebaghAslebagh, from Iran, has been awarded complimentary registration and a travel stipend to attend the ASMS Fall Workshop on Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry, to be held Nov. 6 and 7, in Seattle. The workshop covers fundamentals, instrumentation and strategies for ion mobility mass spectrometry, which is an analytical method being increasingly used for research in biology, including applications to metabolomics, proteomics, targeted interactions and large molecules.

Aslebagh researches breast cancer biomarkers, using mass spectrometry and proteomics to analyze human breast milk with the goal of early detection of cancer cells. The sooner breast cancer can be diagnosed and treated, she said, the better the prognosis. This is an ongoing collaboration between Clarkson's Biochemistry & Proteomics Laboratory and University of Massachusetts Amherst’s lab led by Professor of Environmental Toxicology Kathleen Arcaro.

"If you are able to diagnose the disease in the earlier stages before the formation of the tumor, you can treat the disease before it becomes malignant," Aslebagh said.

Aslebagh said there are few studies on this particular research of breast milk, so she plans to continue her work to gather more data about potential biomarkers. More testing on proteins has to be done before researchers can draw conclusions, she said.

"When we do proteomics, we find some proteins that are potential biomarkers that we have to demonstrate are true, statistically-significant biomarkers," she said. "We also want to make sure they are not false positives."

Aslebagh, who works with Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Costel C. Darie, said she is excited to attend the workshop because ion mobility is an area of mass spectrometry she has not previously studied.

"I was so happy to learn I would be going to Seattle because ion mobility mass spectrometry is a new subject for me, and I'm very interested to learn new subjects in my field," she said.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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