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Mentoring Tomorrow’s Cancer Researchers

News August 08, 2019

Ten students who were part of the Summer Cancer Research Institute gathered one last time to celebrate the conclusion of the eight-week program.

For eight weeks this summer, 10 students from Temple University and Hunter College in New York worked side-by-side with cancer researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) and Fox Chase Cancer Center. The students were part of the first Summer Cancer Research Institute—a program that falls under the Synergistic Partnership for Enhancing Equity in Cancer Health (SPEECH). 

SPEECH was made possible by a $13.5 million U54 grant that was awarded late last year to LKSOM, Hunter College and Fox Chase Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Its goal is to reduce cancer health disparities in minorities and encourage diversity in the field of cancer research by training and mentoring students from underrepresented backgrounds. 

During their time at Temple, the 10 students were exposed to the entire scientific process—from formulating and testing hypotheses, to working with a mentor in state-of-the-art research labs. Their experience culminated in early August when the students gave presentations summarizing their work. While the onsite part of the program has ended, the students will continue to be followed by their Temple mentors.

“Their presentations at the end of the eight weeks were just the first step,” said Grace Ma, PhD, Principal Investigator of SPEECH and Associate Dean of Health Disparities and Director of the Center for Asian Health at LKSOM. “We envision that their work will continue and hopefully lead to publications, future grants and conference presentations.”