Spotlight on Ph.D. alumna, Erica D. Pratt
Current position: Assistant Professor BME, Boston University
Erica Pratt's doctoral work in Dr. Brian Kirby's lab focused on investigating circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood system of patients with solid tumors and how these cells can be used as a noninvasive tumor surrogate, and as prognostic biomarkers for survival in advanced disease. She co-designed the geometrically enhanced differential immunocapture (GEDI) platform for size- and antigen-based isolation of CTCs from whole blood samples.
After graduating, Erica was a postdoc at the University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Minnesota. She then landed an assistant professorship at Boston University, where she leads an engineering-driven cancer research laboratory.
The Pratt Group employs a multi-pronged approach combining engineering with multi-omics strategies to design blood-based assays for cancer diagnosis and monitoring. The long-term goal of her work is to enable sensitive and multiplexable profiling of both genomic and functional biomarkers with a simple blood draw. The ability to noninvasively and quantitatively measure cancer-specific biomarkers would enable real-time longitudinal monitoring of patients at every stage of treatment.