Rosemary N. Plagens

Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences

Florida Institute of Technology

Rosemary N. Plagens
Ph.D. Student

Rosemary N. Plagens is a graduate student working towards a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences at Florida Tech.

She received her undergraduate degree from Furman University in South Carolina (2004-2008), where she subsequently trained as a Research Assistant studying the interplay between environmental toxins and breast cancer (2008-2009). After holding the position of "Army spouse" from 2010-2013, Rosemary returned to her pursuit of scientific research as a Research Assistant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the laboratory of W. Lee Kraus (2013-2016). There, she acquired a broad skill set, including next-generation sequencing library preparations for RNA-Seq and ChIP-Seq, to apply towards understanding the role of poly[adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribose] polymerase-1 (PARP-1) in breast cancer.

Rosemary joined the laboratory of Eric Guisbert at Florida Tech in 2016 and is currently investigating the genetic, cellular, and physiological effects of protein-folding stress using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The research in this lab focuses on the heat shock response (HSR)--a protective cellular pathway that maintains protein-folding homeostasis--as it pertains to human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Outside of the lab, Rosemary and her husband have trapped, neutered, and released (TNR'd) the feral cat colony in their neighborhood while fostering, socializing, and adopting out the youngest cats from that colony. In recent years, Rosemary lost her eldest cat (Batman) to feline nasal adenocarcinoma, and is currently helping another one of her cats (Harley Quinn) through chemotherapy for B-cell lymphoma. These personal experiences with feline cancer have driven her to pursue cancer research to better understand how cells cope with stress and to ultimately discover improved courses of treatment.