SHERMAN, TEXAS— Austin College hosted the 8th Women’s Health Forum and Student Research Showcase titled “Modeling Cancer Progression and Impact of DNA Repair Regulation” on November 29, 2022. Ayesha Shafi ’09 Ph.D. assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, was the keynote speaker.
Shafi focuses her research at USU on defining the mechanisms and biomarkers of therapeutic resistant prostate cancer to develop better treatment strategies.
Dr. Lance Barton, biology professor, coordinates and oversees the conference. He said, “We always ask the keynote speaker to present about their career journey and their academic training, as well as their own research into cancer biology or women’s health issues. The goal is to engage the broader college community in discussions of diseases, research, and aspects of public health that will affect all of us directly or indirectly.”
Rounding out the Forum, Austin College students who participated in 2022 Summer Research and those in the current Developmental Biology course presented their posters.
The Forum is funded by a grant from the Discovery Foundation that supports student research and course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in cell biology.
“The goal is to showcase student projects in different disciplines and to enable students to interact with an off-campus researcher,” Barton said. “Since cancer develops from defects in basic cell biology, it can arise from almost any cell type in almost every organ and affect human physiology in a myriad of ways. Finding cures and preventative solutions to these chronic diseases requires innovative approaches and integration of knowledge from several disciplines or sub-disciplines.”
The annual forum provides opportunities for students to practice communicating their knowledge and receive feedback on their project designs, hypotheses, and conclusions. “The ability to communicate technical and complex biological concepts to diverse audiences is a professional skill needed by every physician and scientist,” Barton said.