Vol 10. Issue 22 / August 2, 2010

Snapshot: Debbie Liao

Position: Research Associate in the Reisfeld lab

Projects: Liao works on developing new approaches to cancer therapies. One of her projects focuses on priming the immune system to be more effective against cancer, setting the stage for the administration of a therapeutic cancer vaccine to fight off recurrence of the disease over the long term.

A second project aims to develop improved delivery methods for chemotherapy drugs, directing them to cancer cells using markers specific to those problematic cells. "This is exciting because it could really help patients in the near term," she said. "Right now a lot of the side effects of cancer chemotherapy are terrible. This method could potentially provide delivery of higher amounts of drug without toxicity."

Awards: National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Grant, U.S. Department of Defense Idea Expansion Award

Background: A San Diego native, Liao earned a bachelor's degree from University of California (UC), Davis, worked as a technician at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and then earned her Ph.D. at UC San Diego, with a rotation at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Arrived at Scripps Research: August 2007

Thoughts on Scripps Research: "It's a diverse and interesting environment, with great scientists, an atmosphere conducive to collaboration, and good support services for postdocs."

Professional and Volunteer Groups: Liao is active in a number of groups, serving as an executive committee member for the Scripps Research California campus Society of Fellows (SOF); project leader for an initiative to help feed the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul Village through the employee volunteer group ScrippsAssists; and member and former officer of the Scripps Outstanding Speakers (SOS) Toastmasters Club.

Other Activities: Spending time with her husband, Dan; walking their two dogs, a border collie named Magic and a Maltese named Happy; gardening; hiking; travel; and reading adventure books such at The Blue Nile by Alan Moorehead. "I try to stay relatively well rounded," Liao said.




Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu



"[Scripps Research] is a diverse and interesting environment," says Research Associate Debbie Liao.