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Aylin Marz

Dr. Aylin Marz 
Associate Professor of Biology
Office: WSB 326J
Lab: DRW 119
Office Phone: (757) 823-8240


Brief Biography

Dr. Aylin Marz is an Associate Professor of Biology at Norfolk State University where she has been since 2016. She teaches undergraduate biology, anatomy, physiology, histology and developmental biology courses. She applies her research interest in breast cancer biology to her courses by developing course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) in her laboratory classes. Her interdisciplinary research examines the molecular and cellular pathways involved in breast cancer progression. With a focus on pathways that link DNA damage repair to cell invasiveness, her lab uses both yeast and human cells to understand how cells become malignant and to use this information to develop novel biomarkers of disease progression and potential treatment targets. In her collaborative work, Dr. Marz works with engineers to develop diagnostic tools using novel label-free optical methods to distinguish different cell types based on their biomechanical and optical properties. Dr. Marz’s recent collaborative interests include exploration of plant products for their effects on cell growth and invasiveness and potential involvement in DNA repair pathways. Applying her molecular biology and mutagenesis expertise from breast cancer Dr. Marz is also embarking on a new collaboration in which she develops altered salt-resistant Spartina for coastal resilience.

Dr. Marz obtained her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences with an Option in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under the guidance of Dr. Vicki Lundblad at Baylor College of Medicine studying DNA recombinational repair-dependent alternative pathways of telomere maintenance in two yeast species. She continued her work in Dr. Mina Bissell’s laboratory at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow contributing to the development of relevant models for studying breast cancer progression in human cells as well as beginning a project interrogating the reciprocal relationship between DNA damage repair pathways and cell invasiveness through the extracellular matrix. Dr. Marz established a lab as an Assistant Professor in the Radiation Oncology department of Virginia Commonwealth University continuing her studies on breast cancer progression and biomarkers, followed by adjunct teaching positions in area colleges, prior to joining the biology department at Norfolk State University. Over the years, Dr. Marz has been funded by local foundation, state (CA, VA) and federal (DoD, NIH, NSF) funding sources.

Detailed CV of Dr. Marz

Research Interests

  • Improving participation of undergraduates in research

  • Interdisciplinary research

  • Breast cancer diagnostic tools

  • Progression markers of breast cancer

  • Effects of extracellular matrix signaling on DNA damage repair

  • How DNA damage and repair influence acquisition of cell invasiveness

  • Screening mutagenesis


Publications (nee Rizki)

  • Bett F, Brown S, Dong A, Christian M, Ajala S, Santiago K, Albin S, Marz A, Deo M. Optical Deformation of Biological Cells using Dual-Beam Laser Tweezer. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2022 Jul;2022:17-20. doi: 10.1109/EMBC48229.2022.9871373.
  • Marz A, Kamatchi G, D’Silva J, Prabhakaran K, Chandra R, Isekeije S. Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory manual for Nursing and Allied Health. 2022 VIVA Pressbooks.
  • Yamlome P, Akwaboah AD, Marz A, Deo M. Convolutional Neural Network Based Breast Cancer Histopathology Image Classification. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2020, PMID: 33018189
  • Marz A. Spreadsheet Tutorial 1: Adapted to Anatomy and Physiology. QUBES, 2018, doi:10.25334/Q4VH6J.
  • Marz A, Buntz JG, Meiers S. Stem Cells in Planaria Regeneration and Wound Healing. QUBES, 2018, doi:10.25334/Q44090.
  • Okpodu CM, Marz A (Editor). Biology 100. Laboratory Manual. Second Edition. Norfolk State University, Department of Biology. Bluedoor LLC. Minneapolis, MN, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-68135-671-6
  • Zhao M, Sachs PC, Wang X, Dumur CI, Idowu MO, Robila V, Francis MP, Ware J, Beckman M, Rizki A, Holt SE, Elmore LW. Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Mammary Adipose Tissue Stimulate Progression of Breast Cancer Resembling the Basal-Type. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 2012, 13(9):1-11. PMID: 22669576
  • Domino SE, Bodurtha J, Nagel JD; BIRCWH Program Leadership (Rizki A within) Interdisciplinary Research Career Development: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Program Best Practices. J Womens Health 2011 20(11):1587-1601. PMID:21923414
  • Rizki A, Weaver VM, Lee S-Y, Rozenberg GI, Chin K, Myers CA, Bascom JL, Mott JD, Semeiks JR, Grate LR, Mian IS, Borowsky AD, Jensen RA, Idowu MO, Chen F, Chen DJ, Petersen OW, Gray JW, Bissell MJ. A Human Breast Cell Model of Preinvasive to Invasive Transition. Cancer Research 2008, 68(5):1378-87. PMID: 18316601
  • Rizki A, Mott JD, Bissell MJ. Polo-like Kinase I is Involved in Invasion through Extracellular Matrix. Cancer Research 2007 67(23):11106-10. PMID: 18056432
  • LeBeyec J, Xu R, Lee S-Y, Nelson CM, Rizki A, Alcaraz J, Bissell MJ. Cell Shape Regulates Global Histone Acetylation in Human Mammary Epithelial Cells. Experimental Cell Res 2007, 313(14):3066-3075. PMID: 17524393
  • Semeiks JR, Rizki A, Bissell MJ, Mian IS. Ensembl Attribute Profile Clustering: Discovering and Characterizing Groups of Genes with Similar Patterns of Biological Features. BMC Bioinformatics 2006, 16(7):147-158. PMID: 16542449
  • Rizki A, Bissell MJ. Homeostasis in the Breast: It Takes a Village. Cancer Cell 2004, 6(1):1-2. PMID: 15261134
  • Rizki A, Bissell MJ. Extracellular Matrix: Tissue-Specific Regulator of Cell Proliferation. In: Cell Cycle and Growth Control Edited by Stein GS, Pardee AB: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2004.
  • Bissell MJ, Rizki A, Mian IS. Tissue Architecture: the Ultimate Regulator of Breast Epithelial Function. Curr Opin Cell Biol 2003, 15:753-762. PMID: 14644202
  • Kenny PA, Rizki A. Meeting report. 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, San Francisco, California, USA, 14-18 December 2002. Breast Cancer Research Journal 2003, 5:147-153. PMID: 12793896
  • Bhattacharyyaa C, Grate LR, Rizki A, Radisky DC, Molina FJ, Jordan MI, Bissell MJ, Mian IS. Simultaneous Classification and Relevant Feature Identification in High-Dimensional Spaces: Application to Molecular Profiling Data. Signal Processing 2003, 83:729-743.
  • Bissell MJ, Radisky DC, Rizki A, Weaver VM, Petersen OW. The Organizing Principle: Microenvironmental Influences in the Normal and Malignant Breast. Differentiation 2002, 70:537-546. PMID: 12492495
  • Rizki A, Lundblad V. Defects in Mismatch Repair Promote Telomerase-Independent Proliferation. Nature. 2001, 411: 713-6. PMID: 11395777 (with News and Views).