Alexandra Bennion


Tampa, FL

Academic Interests

Biology with an emphasis on Molecular and Cellular Biology and Global Health

Fun Fact

I play the clarinet!

After earning my undergraduate degree at Duke, I plan to pursue graduate school and study molecular biology with an emphasis on bringing pharmacological solutions to market. I wish to become a scientist in pursuit of scientific discoveries to improve the lives of others. I have had a personal experience in my family in which a combination of medical and pharmacological interventions has helped to extend the life of my mother, who endeavors to keep aggressive breast cancer in remission. Due to my personal experience with my mother battling breast cancer, I am highly interested in cancer tumor mutational signatures and tumor metabolism. I currently work as a researcher in the Alvarez Lab in the Duke Department of Cancer Biology. Through this role, I am focused on investigating the association between the presence of the ABOBEC3B cellular mutation and tumor recurrence in HER2 positive breast cancer. I am also interested in researching antioxidant and anticancer properties of marine life. I would like to research and develop therapeutic biologics that can ameliorate or cease disease progression of viruses, bacteria, and cancer. I hope to help other patients like my mother through the fusion of cancer biology research and medicine.

Outside of science, I am Treasurer of Duke Clever Endeavor, where I enjoy participating in service within the Durham community. I am also a member of Duke Honor Council, where I help lead initiatives to promote academic and social integrity on Duke’s campus. Additionally, I play clarinet in the Duke Wind Symphony.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I appreciate the SPIRE Fellow’s emphasis on academic collaboration. Academic collaboration is the intellectual cross-pollination of ideas that spark innovation. In terms of SPIRE and STEM, through collaboration, each scientist brings both a homogenous and heterogenous skill set that makes the research process stronger and more likely to succeed. I enjoy the lasting professional and intellectual partnerships that are built via collaboration, and how collaboration pushes the pace of scientific and academic advancement. I also appreciate the mentorship opportunities provided through SPIRE.

Alexandra Bennion