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PH.D. Profile: Eric Kercher

Please describe your research.

Working with Dr. Spring, we are investigating the tumor microenvironment, in newly developed 3D culture models, to uncover complex interactions between immune and cancer cells. Our goal is to develop immune-priming photomedicine, to be used in concert with traditional chemo and radiation therapies, that weakens and kills cancer while sparing the local immune cell cohort and recruiting more immune cells to help finish the job.

What other organizations or activities are you involved with outside of your degree program?

I’m organizing a shoe drive this winter which will help provide new and gently used shoes to communities in developing countries. It’s a simple (and free) way to give back this holiday season so please spread the word! Also, if you can gather up 25 pairs, you’ll receive an entry to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Personally, I was skeptical at first about getting 25 pairs, but after a few messages to friends and family members I was at 25 in no time. I encourage everyone going home over the break to ask their friends, family, and neighbors for donations to bring back in January!

What is your favorite part of Boston?

Running on the Charles and long bike rides up the north shore are awesome. Also, the fish tacos at El Pelon in Fenway are to die for.

What advice would you give to an incoming graduate student?

I had the opportunity to TA for a Dialogues of Civilization course in Chile for 5 weeks over the summer. I had a blast and would advise new grad students to be on the lookout for those types of opportunities. There are tons of ways to have fun and enrich your CV/Resume at NU. Whatever your passion, odds are good you can find a community and resources to help you succeed.

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