Meet the Lab
Amy Brock, Ph.D. Amy received a Ph.D. in Biomedical and Biological Sciences from Harvard University and a B.S. from MIT. She carried out postdoctoral work at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard and joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Amy’s research interests include: cancer systems biology, heterogeneity and cell state plasticity, models of cancer progression and response to therapy. Outside the lab, you can find her sailing on Lake Travis with family, digging in the vegetable garden, playing board games, and just enjoying the antics of her five children.
Andrea (Didi) Gardner, Graduate Student. Didi joined the Brock Lab in 2019 as a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering. She obtained her B.S. in Bioengineering: Biotechnology from UCSD, and then worked with Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell University to develop low-cost diagnostic kits for virally-driven cancers. Her current research focuses on the integration of experimentation, quantitative single cell technologies, and mathematical modeling to better understand how cell-cell interactions stabilize tumor heterogeneity and alter treatment response. Her work is focused on two questions: (1) Do unique phenotypes within clonally-derived cell populations interact? Viewing the tumor as an ecosystem of cells, she asks -- Are subpopulations of cells interacting with each other and if so, as friend or foe? And, (2) How does cell-cell fusion between clonally-related cancer cells alter tumor phenotype? Cell-cell fusion is a tightly controlled biological process that was first noted in cancer in 1911, yet little progress has been made toward understanding its role in this disease. She combines live cell imaging, RNA-sequencing, drug dosing, and mathematical modeling to unveil the lasting impacts of homotypic cell-cell fusion in TNBC cells. Beyond the laboratory, Didi enjoys being involved in kickboxing, biking, and fantasy RPGs.
Learn more about Didi on twitter @AndreaLGardner