3MT 2023 Finalist  Rony Pain

Rony Pain

Cell Biology, College of Health Sciences

One Pill a Day Could Keep Cancer Away

Introduce yourself…

I’m a second year Cell Biology Master’s student in the Berthiaume Lab. I previously completed my Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta and joined the Berthiaume lab as a graduate student after completing a summer studentship as an undergraduate in the same lab. When I am not grinding in the lab, I enjoy working as a lifeguard or hitting the slopes as a volunteer ski patroller.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

I am currently researching the effects of PCLX-001 on cancer metastasis. PCLX-001 is a first-in-class investigational drug that has the potential to treat a wide range of cancers. Specifically, I hope to find out if PCLX-001 can stop cancer cells from spreading from one site to another, otherwise known as cancer metastasis, which is the #1 cause of death from cancer. I hope that my research will provide a new understanding of how PCLX-001 may be able to stop cancer metastasis and save countless lives in the process.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

One of the key lessons I learned in the later years of my undergrad is that if you can give a great elevator pitch about your idea, whatever that idea is, then just those few minutes will set you up for success in the future. A 3MT is no different, and giving this 3MT has helped me to generalize complex cancer terminology to something a member of the public can understand. This ability helps both the public and myself, as they can understand what vital research is happening right here in Edmonton, and I am now able to help communicate my research to those that may benefit from it!

What inspires you to do research?

Cancer is a rapidly expanding crisis that is creating more and more problems for our society every single day. The thought that I might be able to have even the slightest impact to reverse this trend is what fuels me to excel in my research, as the next big discovery could just be around the corner.

What are three key words important to your 3MT?

Cancer Metastasis, PCLX-001, Mitochondrial Metabolism

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

Cancer and cancer research doesn’t have borders. It is a disease that is encountered across every worldwide community, regardless of culture or gender. This global inclusiveness allows my research to affect all communities equally, whether that community is the city of Edmonton, province of Alberta, or the entire region of North America.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

I would have to dedicate this to the people who have undertaken the endeavor to participate in clinical trials for new medicines. It is only with these participants that we have been able to get to where we are today in modern medicine. I would also have to dedicate my research to the researchers who already have and continue to dedicate endless hours of work in the lab, including in my own lab. These researchers have produced incredible findings, some of which have fueled and inspired my own project.

3MT Image Description: The left image contains a person that is visually tired on a couch, while the right image contains a diagram that portrays how without any drug treatment, NMT1 and the lesser-expressed NMT2 lead to a cancer cell metastasizing portrayed by a cell with jogging legs. To the right of that, when PCLX-001 is added to inhibit NMT1 and NMT2, the cancer cell is tired and is sleepy, like the person on the couch.

Watch Rony's Three Minute Thesis