Joana Petrescu (Graduate Student)is an MD-PhD student at Columbia University. Her project seeks to understand changes in cell state and intercellular interactions that are reflected by pathological features such as TDP-43 aggregation in ALS-FTD spectrum disorders. As a Marshall Scholar, she studied the effect of BRCA2 deficiency on initiation of homologous recombination in the Venkitaraman lab at the MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge as well as Philosophy, Politics, and Economics of Health at UCL. Prior to this, she studied the role of the DNA damage response during viral infection in the Weitzman lab at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and French and Francophone studies in the honors program at Villanova University.