Alumni Profile: McGrath ’19H Published in International Journal of Oncology

The Honors staff recently caught up with Nicole McGrath, ’19H, who was a biology major at UMaine and is currently a fellow for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She is the first author on the article “Targeting cancer stem cells in cholangiocarcinoma (Review),” recently published in the International Journal of Oncology.

Nicole McGrath '19H
Nicole McGrath ’19H

Can you describe your post-bacc program and research for us?

I am currently in a two-year fellowship at the National Cancer Institute before applying to my PhD. I am researching the impact of the Hippo pathway on cell stemness in cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts).

How did being in Honors influence your path and help you prepare for this experience?

Honors as a whole, and specifically while developing my reading list senior year, forced me to reflect on my role in society and what I am most passionate about. I have had an array of passions over my college years including politics, feminism, medicine, but first and foremost, the progression of science.

Honors allowed me to explore some of my other passions while focusing on science and conducting my senior thesis, finally coming to the conclusion that research intended to help others is my biggest passion. 

 Do you have any advice for current Honors students?

Explore as much as you can while you are in undergrad. Expose yourself to different topics and figure out what really motivates you to be the best version of yourself. Having too many interests is never a bad thing.

What is your favorite Honors memory?

The Honors trip to Washington D.C. is probably my fondest memory, but my thesis defense is my favorite [one]. As nerve-wracking and exhausting the weeks were leading up to it, it was wonderful to finally defend the research I had been working so hard on and to see the fruits of my labor. 


Nicole’s Honors thesis, “The Impact of New NIH Requirements on the Preclinical Research Sex Disparity — A Meta-Analysis,” is available to the public via the Honors College Digital Commons.