Markey, LLS Host Eighth Annual “Meet the Researchers” Day

The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently hosted their eighth annual “Meet the Researchers” Day. This event is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raised more than $1,000 for the LLS’s Pennies for Patients campaign.

This year, Shelby County West Middle School in Shelbyville, Ky., and St. Francis High School in Louisville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK’s campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.

 “I think Meet the Researchers Day is important for the students because it gives them the opportunity to learn more about all the different possibilities for their future in a STEM based profession,” said Erika Furlong, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. “The LLS has funded 37 of the last 42 cancer drugs that have come out, so putting them in the lab and showing kids what that literally means is something that is very important to us.”

After brief introductory remarks, the students received a tour showing different cancer research labs in the BBSRB, where Markey researchers Jianhang Jia, Ashley Stevens, Tianyan Gao and Ren Xu showed them how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured remarks from UK student researchers Michael Gosky, Haley Dicken and Susanna Goggans, and UK HealthCare researchers/oncologists Dr. John D’Orazio and Dr. Aman Chauhan.

 “I have a lot of students interested in science, already thinking about their career,” said Mary Byard, language arts teacher at Shelby County West Middle School. “The longer we are here, the more they are asking some great questions and making connections to everyday life.”

Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the Student Series of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The fundraiser encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research; patients and community service; public health education; and professional education.