Sayan Alekseev, Biology Major
By Ryan Schoensee, Senior Communications Specialist
Meet Sayan Alekseev '25, a sophomore majoring in biology from Pearland, Texas. Sayan Alekseev fell in love with biology in high school and knew he wanted to continue learning more from this discipline. He chose UTSA because he was looking to move to a new setting and was impressed with the university’s diverse and unique community.
"What makes UTSA different from other communities is the diversity and freedom you have," said Alekseev. "With such a unique university, you can easily find a club or group to fit your interests."
This past summer of 2022, Sayan Alekseev was accepted into the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) CURE, a competitive undergraduate summer research program held at MD Anderson Cancer Center for students who are interested in pursuing research-based careers in cancer research.
The CPRIT-CURE program offered Alekseev an immersive laboratory experience in cancer research with MD Anderson faculty mentors. He received hands-on research training in state-of-the-art labs, where he interacted daily with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. While there, Sayan Alekseev performed research with the Summer Research Immunology Lab and his work on Immunotherapeutic drugs and entitled "Oxphos Inhibition pancreatic cancer limits tumor metabolic advantage and promotes anti-tumor immunity" was later published as an abstract.
Within the CPRIT program, Sayan Alekseev performed research experiments aimed at developing the best strategies to treat prostate cancer. He utilized the mice models of prostate cancer to test different pharmaceutical drugs. Sayan Alekseev also evaluated how treatments lead to changes in the activity of immune cells and reduction of tumor growth. he also performed research analysis and provided treatment to mice bearing cancers.
"From the CPRIT program, I was able to analyze data properly and identify certain markers, and the performance of a drug that was utilized," said Sayan Alekseev. "I was also able to work independently within a laboratory setting, perform mice experiments, and collect, analyze, and present data."
Every week, Sayan Alekseev dedicated time to watching immunology boot camp courses provided by MD Anderson, reading other research articles, and talking about related topics with his principal investigator. This helped Sayan Alekseev gain a greater understanding of his research projects and prepared him for presenting his research during a poster session that was held at the end of the program. He plans on applying for the MD Anderson Summer Program again in 2023.
During his time at UTSA, Sayan Alekseev has met with professors after class and attended multiple study sessions, which not only helped him absorb what he was learning from his courses, but also find new friends who share similar academic interests.
"Form connections with professors and tutors, because once they see that you are putting effort into getting a good grade, they will understand that this class is especially important to you and your future," said Sayan Alekseev. "Do not be afraid to ask questions, if you do not understand something you should ask instead of waiting."
After Sayan Alekseev graduates, he plans on continuing his education by applying to medical school.