Student Research on Myo/Nog Cells June 1, 2021
Christopher Sutera (DO '24)
While pursuing his bachelor of science in biological sciences degree from Drexel University
in Philadelphia, PA, Christopher Sutera (DO ‘24) began pursuing research with Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD, chief research and science officer, and Arturo Bravo-Nuevo, PhD, associate professor, neuroscience. This research experience laid the groundwork
for his current project that he began while enrolled in the Biomedical Sciences program
here at Philadelphia College of Medicine.
In as lay terms as possible, what are you studying?
I study the benefit of introducing exogenous Myo/Nog cells to the eyes of mice that
have retinopathy of prematurity, which is the most common cause of blindness in human
children. Myo/Nog cells are a subpopulation of cells that were discovered right here at PCOM and they have
neuroprotective properties, among many other benefits.
What prompted you to pursue research?
I always loved science as a kid and went to college with the hopes of pursuing science
or medicine. I was lucky enough to go to a university that had an established co-op
program where I was able to work in three different positions in both the scientific
and medical fields during my undergraduate years. These opportunities helped me establish
my love for scientific research and my ultimate goal of becoming a physician.
Please provide a synopsis of your research experience.
I started this research while I was an undergraduate student at Drexel University
which yielded our lab several publications. When I came to PCOM for my master’s degree
in 2018, these publications served as the basis for a new project I started involving
the functional benefit of Myo/Nog cells on retinopathy of prematurity. I completed
my master’s thesis on this research during my second year of the Biomedical Sciences program and have continued this project as a first-year osteopathic medicine student at PCOM.
What are your responsibilities in this research project?
With the guidance of Dr. Bravo Nuevo, I designed this project from the ground up based
on some proven techniques and experiments in our lab. I have been conducting the research
on my own with the support of a few incredible students and faculty associated with
What is the broader impact of your research?
Throughout the past two and a half years working on this particular project we have
found a beneficial effect of Myo/Nog cells on the vascular development that occurs
in the eye, in addition to the cells’ neuroprotective properties. The therapeutic
effects of Myo/Nog cells that we continue to discover in our laboratory are extremely
promising both within and outside of the ophthalmologic research field.
Learn more about student research at PCOM.
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