Student Spotlight: Kourtney Kostecki

Headshot Kourtney KosteckiHometown:

Cottleville, MO (suburb of St. Louis)

Year entered CMB program:



Deric Wheeler Lab


Brief Summary of Research:

Understanding the effect of the TAM family of receptor tyrosine kinase on the immune microenvironment of head and neck cancers.

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

My grandmother got breast cancer when I was a sophomore in college – seeing the toll that even cutting edge treatments took on her and other cancer patients inspired me to work towards more effective, less toxic treatments. My grandmother beat her cancer, but others aren’t so lucky. I’m working for them!

What advice would you give to a student applying to graduate school?

It’s okay to not know which area of study you’re most interested in! And, even if you think you do, it’s okay to change your mind! What’s most important is your passion for doing good science, the rest can be learned.

What are your long term career goals?

I hope to work for a pharmaceutical company and develop new drugs and immunotherapies for deadly diseases. I want to be able to look back and see the difference I’ve made in human health.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

All of my family members have names that start with ‘K’, even our dogs!

When you are not in the lab, you are…….?

Watching Netflix or hanging out with friends

What is your favorite memory so far in the CMB Program?

Bonding with my cohort during the first semester! We made some great memories being in classes together, going through rotations together, and going to retreat!