Stopping Cancer Early – The Best Possible Investment


The Role of a Postdoc Researcher in the Lab

March 5, 2012

Majlinda Kullolli is a Postdoc research fellow in Dr. Sharon Pitteri’s lab at the Canary Center at Stanford University. In this interview, Majlinda shares what the role of a Postdoc is in a lab, as well as her experience working at the Canary Center.

What is a postdoc’s role in the lab?
My role in the lab is to conduct research projects, to think independently, be highly motivated, design and carryout experiments, analyze data, and interpret results. It’s my responsibility to fully understand the technical details of projects as well as to understand each project in the larger context of cancer early detection. In short, it is my job to make sure that the project is getting done successfully.

What is the mission of Dr. Pitteri’s lab?
The mission of the lab is to discover proteins that can be used for diagnostics, progression, and the recurrence of cancer. The lab is mostly concentrated on breast cancer and ovarian cancer research. Most of the work is done with human plasma samples but we also work with cancer cell lines.

Why did you choose this position?
I received my Ph.D. working in Bill Hancock’s lab at Northeastern University. I was working in biomarker discovery for autoimmune disease, but I always wanted to study cancer biology. When I saw this position at the Canary Center for Early Detection, I was interested because I’ve always been fascinated in the study of early detection for cancer. It’s important to know about a disease at the beginning, during the early stages of tumor initiation. Catching cancer early provides a better opportunity to cure and treat the patient.

What are your personal goals in this trajectory?
My personal goal is to be able to learn more about early detection and cancer and help discover biomarkers that can be used for early cancer diagnostics. I am excited to work in a highly collaborative environment which allows me to grow and learn as a scientist.