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Students explore careers in cancer research during summer program

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sept. 5, 2007 -- Eighteen students spent their summer vacations exploring possible careers as cancer researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

For nine weeks, the students participated in the cancer center’s Summer Research Program, gaining hands-on experiences by working with physicians and researchers at the cancer center.  The program seeks to increase the number of cancer researchers among underrepresented groups.

During the program, students were assigned mentors affiliated with the center.  Participant selection was based on interest in biomedical or behavioral science, grades, and personal interviews.  The students worked with faculty who are doing research in the most progressive areas of cancer research.

“It’s exciting that young people are interested enough in learning about cancer research to devote their summer vacations to working with our researchers,” Dr. Stephen Williams, director of the IU Simon Cancer Center, said.  “In the future, one of these students may be contributing greatly to finding a cure.”

High school students who participated must have completed at least their junior year and have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Undergraduates in the program must have completed 24 hours of college credit, be majoring in a biomedical or behavioral science, and have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.2.

The following students participated in the program:

Ilyas Berhane, a student at Arlington High School, Indianapolis, presented “Anti-Multiple Myeloma Activity of Inhibition of mTOR.”

Benjamin Cooley, a Batesville resident and a student at Centre College. Cooley's presentation title was not reported.

April Evans, an Indianapolis resident and a student at Rose-Hulman, presented “An Assay to Phenotype Individuals for Drug Metabolizing Enzymes.”

Aster Gebrekidan, an Indianapolis resident and a student at Butler University, presented “Chronic Ethanol Consumption Decreases Basal Serotonin Neurotransmission in the Ventral Hippocampus of Rats.”

Rebeca Hernandez, a Bloomington resident and a student at Indiana University-Bloomington, presented “Assay Development for Assessment of XPA/RPA Protein Activity Inhibition on Cisplatin-Damaged DNA Substrates.”

Imade Imasuen, a student at Pike High School, Indianapolis, presented “DMAPT Enhances Radiation Induced Cell Killing in p53 Null Prostate Cancer Cells.” 

Lanial Madden, a student at Fishers High School, Fishers, presented “Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Receive Survival Benefit from Transplant.” 

Babalakin Omosegbon, a student at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Indianapolis, presented “Recombinant Protein Production.”

Oluwaranti “Ranti” Ositelu, a student at The Culver Academies, Westfield.  Ositelu’s presentation title was not reported.

Darrin Overby, a student at North Central High School, Indianapolis, presented “Indiana Cancer Pain and Depression (INCPAD).”

Ravisa Patel, a student at Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, presented “Neurofibromin Plays an Important Role in Regulating Mesenchymal Stem/Progenitor Cell Migration.”

Amber Puckett, an Indianapolis resident and a student at Indiana University-Bloomington, presented “Hematopoietic Screening Assay for Radiomitigating Activity of Subcuatneously Administered Test Articles at the LD50/30 Dose of Radiation for C57BL/6 Mice.”

Deepa Saha, a student at Lawrence North High School, Indianapolis, presented “Risk Assessment of Colorectal Cancer (RACC).”

Leroy Seymour, a student at Avon High School, Avon, presented “"Expression Pattern of Heparan Sulfate 2-0 Sulfotransferase (Hs2st1) in the Developing Mouse Embryo."

LaTasha Shobe, an Indianapolis resident and a student at Ball State University, presented “The Effects of Rapamycin on the JNK Pathway.”

Lillian Tate, an Indianapolis resident and a student at Indiana University-Bloomington. Tate’s presentation title was not reported.

Anthony Turner, a Fort Wayne resident and a student at Indiana University-Bloomington. Turner presented “Enhancing the Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity against Myeloma Cancer through Influences of Thalidomide and Interleukin-2 Combinations.”

Gregory Willoughby, a student at Warren Central High School, Indianapolis, presented “Analysis of the Pathopysiology of Acute Tubular Necrosis Induced by Ischemia/Reperfusion Model.”