Heather Giza

Heather Giza

Graduate Student


I graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 2015 with a degree in biochemistry and a degree in studio art. I had great mentors in undergrad who encouraged me to go to graduate school. I love free food. With these credentials, I acquired a spot at the university of Michigan. Outside of the lab, I am an avid astrologer and book worm. 

Research Interests

Cancer cells are vulnerable to ferroptosis, a form of cell death distinct from apoptosis. Traditional chemotherapy induces cellular apoptosis, and there are many cancers that are chemo-resisant, such as pancreatic cancer. The Lyssiotis lab studies pancreatic cancer, and found that these tumors are sensitive to ferroptosis. In essence, ferroptosis tends to inhibit tumor growth in mice, but not always. Sometimes tumors become resistant, and in rare cases some completely regress. We want to know how pancreatic cells resist ferroptosis, so we can therapeutically target it in tumors. Currently, we know that pancreatic cancer cells use cysteine (a metabolite) by two divergent pathways to mitigate ferroptosis. One of these pathways is has a clear role in creating the common antioxidant, glutathione, the other pathway is more ambiguous. I have a loose, easy-going model that "redox stress + osmotic stress = ferroptosis", and this year I'll be seeing if the divergent use of cysteine can fit this model as well.


In vitro monolayer cell culture, 3D spheroid culture, metabolomics, friendship


"Biophysical studies of pHLIP", Giza H., An M., Yao L., Klees L., at Binghamton University Undergraduate Conference in Chemistry

"An Alternative Method of Titer Determination" Giza H., Junaid Z., at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Intern Expo


2017 Binghamton University Summer Scholars Award 2017
2015-2019 New York State STEM Scholarship 2015-2019
2015-2019 New York State Merit Scholarship award 2015-2019
2018 Best poster/prettiest postern Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Intern expo
2018-2019 David P Mancini Fine Arts Scholarship
2018-2019 Sharon S Brehm Scholarship
2019 ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Outstanding Senior Student Award
2021 NSF GRFP honorable mention 
2021 Rogel Cancer Center
Voted "most likely to have a spelling error in her dissertation"- 2019 Binghamton Tour guide association