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Christopher Abdullah, Ph.D.



University of California San Diego


Bob Duronio, Ph.D.


I received my BS and MS in biomedical engineering from Drexel University in 2008. I then completed my thesis research with Dr. Sara Courtneidge and received my PhD from UC San Diego in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program in 2017. My PhD research focused on uncovering the molecular mechanism by which the protein tyrosine kinase SRC promoted estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell proliferation. Using both cell culture and xenograft studies in mice, we found evidence of two signaling pathways that SRC promotes cell cycle progression. Additionally, during my time at UCSD, I had the opportunity to TA with Dr. Ella Tour and conducted biology education research involving utilizing primary literature in a Master’s course as a tool to develop students’ science process skills. We also observed that this course changed students’ perceived difficulties with scientific literature. During my graduate studies, I realized that I enjoyed engaging undergraduate students both in the lab and in the classroom and wanted to pursue this further as a postdoc.

My training and interest in both scientific research as well as education prepared me for a position as a SPIRE postdoctoral fellow. For my postdoctoral research project, I have pivoted my research interests to study cancer phenotypes using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system more suited for undergraduate research. Under the mentorship of Dr. Bob Duronio, I plan to use fruit flies to study the effects of oncogenic histone mutations to characterize the role of these mutations genome-wide. In the SPIRE program, I hope to further mentor undergraduate research experiences and further develop my research and teaching skill set.


Spring 2019

Cell Biology with Lab – North Carolina A&T State University

Fall 2019

Special Topics: Model Organisms in Biomedical and Cancer Research- North Carolina A&T State University