American Physical Society

Allison Porter - Biophysics Technician

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Job Info

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Position Type:

Job skills:
Complex problem solving
Synthesizing information
Lab or instrumentation skills
Data analysis
Team work

Allison Porter's Job:
Currently,  Porter is a technician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle Washington,  working with a research group studying microchimerism. Microchimerism is a phenomenon that occurs during pregnancy,  when small groups of cells pass between the mother and child. These cells can stay within the mother's and child's bodies for years after birth. The research group,  lead by Dr. Lee Nelson,  is investigating what effects these cells may have on autoimmune disease. The group hopes that their research will help deepen the understanding of autoimmune diseases,  as well as the immune system. The research may also help improve cancer treatment,  as some treatments for autoimmune disease are effective for cancer as well.

Career Facts

Employer Type:

Current Location:
Seattle, WA

Physics Degree:

Educational Information

B.S. in Astrophysics,  Harvard,  2002.  
Pursuing MD at the University of Washington

More about Allison Porter

Allison Porter's other interests:
Aside from her work,  Allison Porter is involved in a wide range of community support activities. She has spent time in Mexico doing disease education,  Calcutta working at an disabled children's orphanage,  and Ecuador as a part of a mobile surgery unit (although her time in Ecuador was unfortunately cut off by a case of malaria).

Porter also is an avid boxer,  and in 2004 was the Tacoma Golden Gloves champion.

Direct link to Allison Porter's profile:

Allison Porter


Porter had always been interested in the sciences,  and had showed special interest in becoming a doctor,  partially due to her aunt's fight with ovarian cancer. In high school,  she had a physics class that she particularly enjoyed. In the class,  she was introduced to astrophysics that allowed students to create a simulated solar system by determining objects masses and velocities.  

When going through her undergraduate years,  she wanted to choose a major that gave some breadth to her education,  and her good experience in her high school physics class helped steer her towards astrophysics. "I think a lot of it is from just a philosophical standpoint,  studying things that are much larger than we can really comprehend,  I was very interested in big bang cosmology,  the origins of the universe."

After graduating from Harvard,  Porter entered the Miss America pageant,  representing her state of Washington. She chose the pageant due to its goal to develop well-rounded women,  and currently employs her role as Miss Washington to raise awareness of cancer prevention,  treatment,  and funding.

She is currently in the MD Program at the University of Washington.