Shannon Collins

Graduate School
College of Medicine – Tucson
Year Entered Program: 
2014
Degrees Received: 

Chemistry B.S. Degree, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, May 2011

Thesis Advisor: 
Pascale Charest, PhD
Thesis Research: 

The target of rapamycin (TOR) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase that regulates cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and motility.  TOR acts in a bi-dexterous manner by having the ability to form two distinct complexes, TORC1 and TORC2, each with independent functions.  TORC1 has been widely studied and found to govern cell growth and proliferation.  Likewise TORC1 has been implicated in certain cancers when deregulated, which has made TOR a target in cancer therapy.  Although TORC2 is known to govern cell survival and motility, it has been less extensively studied to date. Of interest, TORC2 has been linked to cancer cell migration.  Therefore, it is important to understand the role of TORC2 in both normal physiology and cancers. Understanding the regulation of TORC2 will open research efforts to more selective inhibitors that target invasive cancers.

About Me: 

In my personal life I have had a great number of varying pursuits. I love to explore new interests and I find the most rewarding part to be the mastery of a new skill. I served in the Navy where I had the exciting opportunity to assemble turbine engines for fighter jets. I have always been fascinated by computers and have assembled many PC’s to stay up to date with the developments in high-performance graphic PCs for gaming and 3D design. I ran competitively in high school and trained and ran a full marathon in college. I absolutely love getting close to nature. Likewise, I am an avid camper, hiker, and bird watcher. Photography goes hand in hand with my love for nature. I take frequent trips to the outdoors to try to procure the perfect shot. I even enjoy writing poetry when I feel the creative itch.

Honors & Awards: 
  • Awarded Biological Chemistry Program Fellowship, NIH Training Grant Research Fellowship, University of Arizona, 2016-2018 
  • Difference of One Award, Outreach work with underrepresented students, University of Arizona Dean of Students, 2015
  • Initiative to Maximize Student Development Fellowship, National Institutes of Health, University of Arizona, 2013-2014
  • 2nd place for Bioorganic and Organic research presentation at Castle Conference, University of South Florida, 2011
  • Inorganic Chemistry Award for outstanding performance, University of South Florida, Spring 2010
MD-PhD Committee Student Rep: 
MD-PhD Committee Student Rep