Five undergraduate students completed cancer research fellowships during the summer of 2016

2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows.

The 2016 undergraduate students who completed cancer research fellowships at the WVU Cancer Institute (River Hames, Joseph McGuire, Cassidy Bland, Eric Lundstrom and Patrick Thomas) after presenting their research posters during a symposium this past Wednesday. Along with a certificate, each also received a book entitled The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

The highly competitive Summer Research Fellowship Program at the WVU Cancer Institute provides funding and opportunities for undergraduate students who want to pursue careers in cancer research or medicine.

Cassidy Bland studied how exosomes, fluid-filled sacs released from tumor cells, alter the function of immune cells.  The knowledge gained from this research can be applied to create enhanced immunotherapies.  Her mentor was David Klinke, PhD, in the WVU Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology. Cassidy is a junior at WVU and is majoring in biomedical engineering.

River Hames studied the molecular mechanisms of head and neck cancer.  His mentor was Scott Weed, PhD, in the WVU Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy.  River is a junior at WVU and is majoring in biology.

Eric Lundstrom studied how stem cells from fat together with tumor cells stimulate interleukin-6 and other pro-inflammatory genes, which could contribute to obesity-related breast cancer survival.  His mentor was Linda Vona-Davis, PhD, in the WVU Department of Surgery.  Eric is a senior at WVU and is majoring in biology.

Joseph McGuire studied the role of OVOL and GRHL genes as part of the process by which cancer spreads to other parts of the body.  His mentor was Alexey Ivanov, PhD, in the WVU Department of Biochemistry.  Joseph is a junior at WVU and is majoring in biology.

Patrick Thomas studied how the metabolism of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common malignancy among children, changes when the cancer cells are in the bone marrow.  His mentor was Laura Gibson, PhD, senior associate vice president for the WVU Department of Research & Graduate Education.  Patrick is a junior at WVU and is majoring in biochemistry.