Salma Sharmin is a graduate student in the Kashatus Lab studying how the GTPase, Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), regulates mitochondrial fission and the subsequent impact on resistance of pancreatic tumor cells to the kinase inhibitor, trametinib. Regulation of mitochondrial dynamics, through DRP1, plays an important role in tumor progression, especially in RAS driven cancers. She generated pancreatic cells that were resistant to trametinib and interestingly found that DRP1S616 phosphorylation is upregulated in resistant cells and, targeting DRP1 re-sensitized these cells to the drug. With this fellowship, she will examine the mitochondrial morphology in these resistant cells. Additionally, she will perform a CRISPR screen, with a focus on kinases, in the resistant cells to identify novel pathways specific to resistance mechanisms to broaden the understanding of these cells. Salma relayed that her dedication to cancer research is driven by a desire to understand the complexities of cancer cell signaling mechanisms.