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Meet a SLU Researcher: Sofia Origanti, Ph.D.

10/25/2021

Sofia Origanti, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Biology. Dr. Origanti’s research focuses on how body cells synthesize proteins and the role those proteins play in the growth of cancer cells. She also engages her students in her research.

Research Interest

"My grandmother had cancer, but my great-grandmother also had cancer and got me really curious, is there a familial history?" Origanti said. "When I got into cancer research, the more I got interested and I said, that's a field that I really want to learn more about.

Inside the Lab

"My lab is interested in how cells synthesize protein," Origanti said. "Proteins perform all the essential functions in the cell, and cancers, they have this rampant uncontrolled growth of cells that is fueled by excess production of protein. 

"We start off from the base up, I would say, trying to figure out the molecular mechanisms and then eventually figure out, OK, this looks like a good target to go after. Let's start working on drugs that can target this. Figuring out how these things work, but also how we can eventually help someone by figuring out how these things work."

Working With Students

"If you look at a line in a textbook that says, 'this is how this functions,' that must have been from years of research of one graduate student chipping away in a lab, trying to give you that one fact," Origanti said. "In the teaching that I do, I think there are opportunities where I can kind of plug in my research. And I get a lot of emails from students who want to work in the lab, because the more I talk about research, they actually got quite interested."

Working at SLU

"When I interviewed, I really liked the department, a nice, collaborative environment to work in and still make that research progress," Origanti said. "And St. Louis just holds a very fond place in our hearts. It was a no-brainer for us to move back to St. Louis and St. Louis University."

Meet the Researcher Video Series

This is part of a weekly series of short videos featuring faculty researchers from across the University sharing the important and cutting-edge research taking place at SLU. 

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