Gabrielle J. Dardis successfully defended her dissertation titled, “EZH2 Co-Activates NF-κB Targets with RelA in a PRC2-Independent Manner in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells” on May 19th, 2023, in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics under the direction of Dr. Albert S. Baldwin.
Gabrielle earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Lehigh University in 2017. During her time at Lehigh, Gabrielle conducted independent research studying joint development using a zebrafish tailfin regeneration model in the lab of Dr. M. Kathryn Iovine, and published a first author paper in 2017 on her findings. She additionally participated in bacteriophage research in the 2015 Biosystems Dynamics Summer Institute at Lehigh, and investigated the application of drugs targeting metabolic pathways in osteosarcoma in Dr. Jeffrey D. Neighbors’ group at The Pennsylvania State University Cancer Institute in the 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Program and as a Research Technologist in 2017.
In her first year at UNC Chapel Hill, Gabrielle contributed to a co-authored paper in her first rotation with Dr. Leslie V. Parise while in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, and ultimately joined the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department and began her thesis work in Dr. Baldwin’s group in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, which specializes in inflammatory NF-κB signaling. Her work focuses on a non-canonical role for typically repressive protein EZH2 in co-activating NF-κB signaling in an aggressive subtype of breast cancer. The majority of her thesis work is described in a manuscript currently under review. Gabrielle’s work has been funded by a NIGMS T32 (“MiBio”) Training Grant (2019-20), and by a Ruth L. Kirschstein predoctoral NRSA F31 Award from the National Cancer Institute (2020-2023).
Gabrielle is passionate about science communication – beyond thoroughly enjoying creating posters and giving oral presentations, she is pursuing science communication as a career. She has contributed as an editor to multiple blogs, including The Pipettepen by the UNC Science Writing and Communication Club (SWAC) and Oncobites, as well as serving in leadership roles as the Social Media Chair and Vice President & Chief Editor for SWAC. Further, she has attended the ComSciCon-Triangle Workshop and Conference as a trainee in 2021, and subsequently served on the Organizing Committee to plan and run the 2022 conference. In 2022, she participated in the TIBBS ImPACT internship program as a Medical Content Strategist Intern at Medical Communications agency Evoke MicroMass. She is currently interviewing for Medical Writer positions at MedComms agencies and plans to move to Philadelphia this summer.
Outside of science, Gabrielle is a national-level competitive powerlifter. Not only has she met incredible friends through this sport, but the requirements of hours of training and taking care of herself physically have forced her to also take care of her mental health. Along with her incredible support network of friends and family near and far, and her yellow lab Astrid who forces her to go outside and take breaks, she is grateful to have discovered this outlet and passion that has certainly staved off the worst of burnout by reminding her that failed experiments are not personal failures, and that dedication and hard work can and will pay off.