PhD (3rd year)
Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Advisor: Stewart Loh, PhD
I’ve been a member of the Upstate Medical University MD/PhD program since 2011. I chose an MD/PhD because I want to do impactful research with the insight and patient access of a clinician combined with the technical capabilities of a basic scientist. Upstate provides me with access to all of the mentors and tools I need to conduct high-impact biomedical research as well as an accessible and livable community where I can raise a family.
My primary research interests are in protein folding/misfolding and how its dysfunction manifests as human disease. As an extension of this, I’m also interested in ways to manipulate protein folding and how they might be applied to alter biological systems and treat disease. My research project focuses on the folding and misfolding of cancer-causing p53 mutations, and how we can correct that misfolding using small molecules. In the last few years, we have defined a fundamentally new class of experimental anti-cancer drugs called Zinc Metallochaperones, and are now in the process of searching for a drug in this class that can be used in human clinical trials.
Outside of the lab, I enjoy raising my beautiful daughter (Leah Jane Blanden, born May 29, 2015) along with my wife, building my biotech startup company, cooking, fishing, cocktail making, and sampling fine wines and spirits. I also enjoy reefkeeping, raising saltwater fish, and playing PC video games, but I’ve had to put those hobbies on hold for the time being, (alas, there are only so many hours in the day).