Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2019

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Charles Giardina, Ph. D.

Honors Major

Molecular and Cell Biology

Second Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Medical Cell Biology | Medical Genetics | Medical Molecular Biology | Medical Physiology | Oncology | Translational Medical Research


The iron regulatory axis has consistently been shown to be perturbed in cancer cell lines relative to non-cancerous cell lines. As cancer cells rapidly divide and grow, they require iron to fuel many intracellular processes, including DNA replication and protein synthesis. Three-dimensional cell culture is an increasingly popular method of culture that purportedly more accurately mimics the in vivo microenvironment of cancers over traditional two-dimensional culture. This project was prompted by previous lab results to investigate differential iron regulatory gene expression in 2D and 3D spheroid culture models. We replicated the findings that the gene hepcidin is induced in 3D culture. Furthermore we found that the iron storage gene ferritin was significantly induced in 3D culture. We hypothesized that this induction was related to increased oxidative stress in the spheroids and supported this theory with an experiment that induced hypoxia in 2D and 3D models.