Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Nicole Bournias-Vardiabasis


High grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are some of the most aggressive forms of cancer with poor patient survival. Despite successful cancer therapies, these malignancies have high recurrence rates which can be attributed to cancer stem cells (CSC) due to innate tumor initiating properties. In this study, we investigated the response of CSC populations to proton and photon radiation by quantification of core stem cell transcription factors Sox2 and Oct4. This was carried out utilizing a Sox2/Oct4 green fluorescent protein based reporter designated as SORE6-GFP measured by flow cytometry. We hypothesize that proton and photon irradiation have similar effects of inducing the CSC phenotype measured by SORE6-GFP. Reporter behavior was supported by RT-qPCR, immunofluorescence microscopy and permeabilized flow cytometry data. We found that both proton and photon radiation have similar effects of inducing CSC populations with increasing radiation dosages. Knowing this contributes to developing strategies to combat radiation-induced aggressiveness by targeting CSCs. Inhibiting the action of this cell population can possibly help the prognosis of HGSOC and GBM patients.