Six undergraduate students recently presented their cancer research to their peers and mentors during a symposium at the WVU Cancer Institute’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. Five of the undergraduates – Daniel Berrebi, River Hames, Emmanuel Chan, Stephen Chen and Joseph McGuire – completed research fellowships at the WVU Cancer Institute this summer. Adam Hull, an intern from Shepherd University, completed his cancer research project in Shepherd University President Mary Hendrix’s lab at WVU.
The highly competitive Summer Research Fellowship Program at the Cancer Institute provides funding and opportunities for undergraduate students who want to pursue careers in cancer research or medicine. Students receive a $4,000 stipend and are paired with a WVU cancer scientist for a 10-week research project.
Daniel Berrebi studied the role of fat tissue in contributing to the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body. His mentor was Linda Vona-Davis, PhD, in the WVU Department of Surgery. Daniel is the son of Denise and Albert Berrebi of Morgantown. He is a senior at WVU and is majoring in biology.
River Hames studied the mechanisms by which head and neck cancer squamous cell carcinoma moves into neighboring tissue and spreads to other parts of the body. His mentor was Scott Weed, PhD, in the WVU Department of Biochemistry. River is the son of Lori Montague of Morgantown and Michael Hames of Florence, Alabama. He is a senior at WVU and is majoring in biology.
Emmanuel Chan studied the effectiveness of targeted therapy drugs to treat lung cancer. His mentor was Patrick Ma, MD, in the WVU Department of Medicine. is the son of Rebecca and Perry Chan of Phoenix, Arizona. He is a sophomore at UC Berkeley and is majoring in molecular cell biology and psychology.
Stephen Chen studied novel nanotherapeutics to treat patients with lung cancer. His mentor was Erik Bey, PhD, in the WVU Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Stephen is the son of Lucy and Roger Chen of Morgantown. He is a junior at Princeton University and is majoring in molecular biology.
Joseph McGuire studied the role two gene families play in the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. His mentor was Alexey Ivanov, PhD, in the WVU Department of Biochemistry. He is the son of Catherine Mullens of Philippi and Bernard McGuire of Belington. He is a senior at WVU and is majoring in biology.
Financial support for the fellowship program comes from the Edwin C. Spurlock Fellowship Fund, the Edward L. Reed Cancer Research Endowment, the Dr. David B. McClung Cancer Research Endowment Fund, and the Joe Marconi Cancer Research Fellowship Endowment.
Adam Hull, the first recipient of the Robert Louis Katz Memorial Research Foundation Internship at Shepherd University, studied the biochemical and molecular properties of aggressive cancer. His mentors were Richard Seftor, Elisabeth Seftor and Naira Margaryan, in the WVU Department of Biochemistry. He is the son of Melinda and Tim Hull of Inwood. He is a is a senior and is majoring in biology.
Many thanks to the WVU women’s soccer team and their fans who came out to watch the Mountaineers beat Oklahoma 5-1 during the “pink” game at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown on October 8. The game was an opportunity for both the team and fans to join the WVU Cancer Institute and WVU Medicine to raise breast cancer awareness and support the fight against breast cancer. Cancer Institute Director Rich Goldberg, representatives of the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center and the Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program (Bonnie’s Bus), and assistant women’s soccer coach Marisa Kanela were called to the field for halftime recognition and an announcement that the Mountaineers raised nearly $9,000 for the Cancer Institute’s Betty Puskar Breast Care Center during the team’s annual spring fundraiser. Additionally, Mountaineer fans donated more than $1,300 in exchange for official pink Mountaineer T-shirts. Their donations will support the Breast Cancer Program Enhancement Fund at the Cancer Institute.
Linda Vona-Davis, Ph.D., director of the Biomedical Master of Science in Health Sciences Program at West Virginia University, was surprised and delighted to see 65 of her colleagues at her recent presentation. Before the standing-room-only crowd, she discussed her latest research into how adipose-derived stem cells, which originate in fat, influence the activity of breast cancer cells.