Partnership with UW-Milwaukee Aims to Foster a Lifetime Commitment to Science

The MCW Cancer Center recently awarded ten University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) students scholarships of $10,000 each to participate in a new undergraduate program designed to train the next generation of high-performing cancer research scientists. The awards reflect a partnership between the Cancer Center and UWM that offers students early in their academic studies the knowledge and skills needed to explore cancer research from the front lines and pursue careers in cancer research.

woman writing on whiteboardRecipients of this year’s award include:

  • Molly Adams
  • Lauren Banaag
  • Alexia Castillo
  • Zechariah Cummings
  • Chad Darnell
  • Rachel Kuehn
  • Suha Malik
  • Eman Muhammad
  • Han Nguyen
  • Florin Saitis

“Undergraduate students bring fresh energy to our research labs, eager to learn and contribute to the vast array of innovative cancer research on campus,” said program leader Michele Battle, PhD, professor, Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy. “Our program allows students to engage in research from inception to completion, providing a comprehensive learning experience that teaches foundational research skills and develops critical thinking.”

The academic program complements the Cancer Center’s existing robust educational programs that span the educational spectrum from middle and high school to college and medical school through postdoctoral training, career development, and continuing medical education. The institution is also working to expand these programs through the newly-established Cancer Research Training & Education Coordination (CRTEC) office, which will aid in the coordination and evaluation of MCW training and education activities. Together, these efforts demonstrate the Cancer Center’s commitment to supporting the next generation of scientists who will drive innovation and help improve cancer outcomes.

“Like many people—if not most—my family was directly impacted by cancer, sparking my interest in science and eventually in cancer research. My experiences in this program have shed light on new career paths I haven’t previously considered. I look forward to continuing my research at MCW and playing my part in the enhancement of cancer research for the betterment of those impacted,” said award recipient Chad Darnell.

Darnell currently conducts research under the mentorship of Michael Dwinell, PhD, professor, Microbiology & Immunology. In the Dwinell Lab, investigators focus on the anti-tumor mechanisms of the mitochondria targeted compound MMe and the newly designed variant pCF3-MMe in pancreatic cancer—their goal is to discover new immune targeted therapies to effectively treat the disease. Darnell presented this research at the inaugural MCW Cancer Center Trainee Symposium this spring and won a poster award in the undergraduate category.