Four students complete cancer research fellowships at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Four undergraduate students completed cancer research fellowships at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center of West Virginia University this summer. 

Sean Hanlon, Andrea Labus, Eric Emery and Amy Mihalchuk– the winners of the fellowship – shared their research findings with their peers and mentors during a symposium recently at the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

The highly competitive fellowship program 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.

Sean Hanlon studied the interaction of two proteins on a gene, p14-ARF, that leads to dispersal of cancer cells. Cells usually stay close to the tissue to which they belong, but cancer cells invade other organs. Sean is the son of Sandra and Dale Hanlon of Bruceton Mills.  He is a WVU junior majoring in biochemistry.

Andrea Labus studied the relationship between obesity and breast cancer tumor survival.  Breast tumor cells prefer to migrate in the direction of fat cells, indicating that fat tissue is an attractive environment for growth. She is the daughter of Dr. Lester and Benita Labus of Charleston.  She is a WVU senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in Spanish.

Eric Emery studied the function of the protein CK2 and its interaction with a protein called cortactin in cells. He is the son of Drs. Gwen and Sanford Emery of Morgantown. He is a sophomore at Duke University. 

Amy Mihalchik generated derivatives of breast cancer cell lines for use in imaging tumors in mice.  She is the daughter of Bonnie and Mike Mihalchik of Harrison City, Pennsylvania.  She attends Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania where she is a senior biology major with a minor in English.

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.

For information on the fellowship program at the WVU Cancer Center, see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/research/undergradResearch.asp.

Photo Caption (l to r): Eric Emery, Amy Mihalchik, Andrea Labus and Sean Hanlon


For more information:
Kim Fetty, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ss: 08-05-10

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