Young Cancer Researcher Set Her Sights on Bemidji State While Attending Local High School

Savannah “Anna” Corradi, senior, majoring in biochemistry with a cellular and molecular emphasis
Savannah “Anna” Corradi, senior, majoring in biochemistry with a cellular and molecular emphasis

Savannah “Anna” Corradi started her research experience at Bemidji State University during her junior year at Bemidji High School. Now a college senior, majoring in biochemistry with a cellular and molecular emphasis, Corradi is well on her way to making an impact in the medical field through her research on ovarian cancer.

Corradi, a life-long Bemidji native, decided to attend Bemidji State after attending a presentation at Bemidji High School by  BSU Professor of Biology Dr. Mark Wallert. Wallert’s presentation on his cancer research team and the opportunities it could provide caught Corradi’s attention, and she immediately joined the team as a volunteer.

“In her four years on the research team, Anna has developed into a truly exceptional undergraduate researcher,” Wallert said. “I look forward to following Anna’s educational and professional career after she graduates. The question is not whether she will change the world, but how great will that change be.”

In just three years at Bemidji State, Corradi has presented her research internationally and has won numerous recognitions for her study of a protein called NHE-1 and its role on ovarian cancer cells.

“Specifically, I have been working with different chemotherapeutic agents and combining them with known inhibitors of this protein,” Corradi said. “I am looking for a synergistic relationship between the two — so essentially I’m not curing cancer, but finding a better treatment for it and trying to decrease the potency of these chemotherapeutics and their negative side effects.”

Corradi said her role in Wallert’s cancer researcher team has provided her with the momentum needed to build her resume and scientific reputation.

“This project has been a really fun and great experience,” she said. “It will help me get to where I want to be in the future. BSU has provided me with the opportunity to travel to national conferences and to do research in a close-knit atmosphere.

“Dr. Wallert has been, by far, the most influential person in both my scientific path and also in myself. He has really pushed me to be a better scientist and a better person, and encourages me to strive for things that I don’t think I could typically reach.”

Expected to graduate in spring of 2021, Corradi hopes to attend graduate school and earn a doctorate in biomedical sciences.

“Eventually I want to work for a pharmaceutical company and afterwards possibly become a professor and have my own research lab,” she said.

Funding sources that support the research team include the Lueken Family Foundation, the Richard Beitzel Biochemistry Student Research Fund, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and various BSU faculty grants.