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Allison Simi

Allison Simi

Department Chemical & Biological Engineering
Faculty Adviser Celeste M. Nelson
Year of Study G5
Undergraduate Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Major Chemical Engineering


Personal Bio I was born and raised right across Rt. 1 in West Windsor, NJ. I enjoy hard thinking and problem solving, and chased a thirst for challenge to MIT for undergrad and back to Princeton for my PhD in Chemical Engineering, where I am entering my last year. These days I spend a lot of time in lab, thinking about cancer and designing experiments to manipulate and track the behavior of living cells to better understand tumor progression. When not in lab, I’m most likely at the gym teaching group fitness or training for some race or another. And if not there, I’m probably at my mom’s house or sister-in-law’s house, where I enjoy baking, cooking, and eating with family, and throwing around my husband’s adorable niece and nephew.
Fun Fact Elephants are my favorite animal. I have been collecting elephant figurines since I was little (well, my parents started the collection for me). I now have more than 50 from all over the world!
Research Keywords cancer, cell culture
Research Pitch Traditional cancer treatments were designed to target the cancer cells themselves, when in reality, tumor growth and progression are critically influenced by signals from the local environment. For example, tumors are inherently stiffer than normal tissue, and this mechanical property has been shown to affect cell growth and proliferation. Using a 2D engineered tissue model with tunable stiffness, we investigate how stiffness affects the stability of the genome in cells. Increased rate of mutation, a result of genomic instability, is a driving force in the development of a cancerous tumor. A complete understanding of the relationship between tissue stiffness and genomic instability may aid in the discovery of new treatments.
Meet and Greet 10/12  Yes, I will attend
Meet and Greet 10/13 No, I will not attend.
Meal for Mentoring 11/14 Yes, I will attend.
Meal for Mentoring 11/15 Yes, I will attend.


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