10×10+10: Katherine Cook ’06


(100 words) + 10 random questions

Katherine Cook ’06

A LABORATORY INTERNSHIP WITH CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR KESTAS BENDINSKAS and summer of hands-on experience at W.R. Grace & Co., thanks to the support of W. R. Grace CEO Fred Festa ’81, eventually put Katherine Cook ’06 on the front line of fighting breast cancer.

“The extra attention and opportunities offered at Oswego made me a competitive candidate for graduate school,” said Cook, who pursued her Ph.D. at Wake Forest University.

A postdoctoral research fellow at Georgetown University, Cook aims to make a common form of breast cancer treatment more effective. The disease has touched several members of her family.

“Understanding breast cancer is a personal goal and the reason I went into cancer research.”

 1. Hardest part of lab work:

I guess the hardest part of lab work would be staying positive when things don’t work — which in science is quite often. Science can be harsh: Experiments don’t work, manuscripts get rejected and grants don’t get funded.

2. Easiest way to handle it:

Easiest way to handle the negativity is loving what you do. I went into science because I enjoy figuring out problems (and you get to use fun equipment).

3. Least missed part of undergraduate life:

The winters! Safe to say Oswego cured me of my love for snow. I promptly moved south after that!

4. Tiniest particle you’ve ever seen:

I just finished a project where we looked at the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs on mitochondria structure through electron microscopy.

5. Biggest discovery you’ve ever made:

In graduate school I had the opportunity to work on a compound that we were able to translate into clinical trials. It is very rewarding to see your work go on to treat patients!

6. Most impossible science term to spell:

Therapeutic. The E and the U always get switched . . . but that is what spell check is for! And don’t get me started on European journals that use British spelling.

7. Favorite professor?

Dr. Kestas Bendinskas, of course. Jim MacKenzie comes in a close second. I did my internship project working with Kestas and the hands-on lab experience really helped with getting into graduate school. Both professors were very approachable and happy to help you with any problems either lab technical questions or questions with class work. They would have to be the reason I continued on in science.
Thanks, guys!

8. Most memorable Oswego moment:

Bridge Street Run of course! The next day the fountain was always green and filled with soap bubbles!

9. Favorite Oswego nightspot:

Coleman’s. Thursday trivia night and Guinness Burgers were the best!

10. Best place to grab breakfast:

Nothing beats Wade’s for Saturday morning breakfasts!

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