Sometimes when Elena Schatell ’15 walks into tobacco shops in the Columbus area, store owners think she’s working for the government.
“We go to different tobacco retailers,” Schatell said, “and we fill out this little survey on what products are being sold, including the advertisements, prices and sizes. We’re collecting the data for future studies.”
But Schatell’s not with the FBI, DEA or FDA. She’s with the OSU.
Schatell, a neuroscience major from Arlington, Va., is one of six Kenyon students conducting cancer research this summer at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, or OSUCCC-James.
When Kenyon first partnered with Pelotonia to bring its long-distance bike ride to Gambier in 2012, the College sought to answer the bigger question regarding cancer research. “How do we tie in the fact that this isn’t just about biking, this is about cancer?” said Maureen Tobin, graduate school and preprofessional advisor, who oversees the application process for the summer research program.
Now, each summer, six $3,000 stipends are given by OSUCCC-James to select Kenyon students to work 10 weeks in a lab, often alongside graduate students and post-docs.
Stephanie Cordonnier ’15, a neuroscience major from Bradford, Ohio, is conducting clinical research at the Stress and Health Lab at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, where she takes vitals, interviews breast cancer patients and analyzes data about stressful events in patients’ lives.
“I think Kenyon prepared me really well for this experience,” Cordonnier said. “I had never done most of this stuff, but I was able to catch on very quickly. They really trusted me to do a lot of different things right off the bat.”
Michael Caligiuri, director of the cancer center and chief executive officer of the OSUCCC-James, said, he hopes students will take advantage of the research opportunities for far-reaching and meaningful progress in the fight against cancer. “I was once a student, and it was my summer experience that inspired me to consider a career in cancer research, in cancer care,” he said. “It was about getting a better understanding of the excitement and the intrigue of cancer research.”
Caligiuri was on hand July 25, when the students give a presentation at OSU to high-level professional cancer researchers. “It’s quite an audience,” Tobin said.
But Cordonnier wasn’t fazed. “I’m excited…I like presenting,” she said. “I’m all about trying to get as many different experiences as you can.”
by Henri Gendreau '16
Kenyon Students Participating in the Kenyon College Pelotonia Partnership
Stephanie Penix '16, Molecular Biology
Research Focus: Health status and healthcare utilization among adolescents who have experienced homelessness: findings from a statewide sample
Advisor: Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH, MPH
Sean Bush '17, Neuroscience
Research Focus: Phox2b pathologies beyond neuroblastoma
Advisors: José Otero, MD, PhD and Patrick Gygli, PhD
Alex Oles '16, Biochemistry
Research Focus: The effects of acetaminophen metabolite AM404 on the viability and gene expression patterns of an EBV positive Burkett’s Lymphoma cell line
Advisors: Eric Yang, PhD and Ronald Glaser, PhD
Elena Schatell '15, Neuroscience
Research Focus: Heavy metal concentrations and lifetime cancer risk estimates in new and traditional smokeless tobacco products
Advisors: Catalin Marian, MD, PhD and Amy Ferketich, PhD
Stephanie Cordonnier '15, Neuroscience
Research Focus: The relationship between anticholinergic use, cognitive complaints, and heart rate variability in breast cancer survivors
Advisors: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD and Heather Derry, MA
Amanda He '16, Biology
Research Focus: PTPRJ variants in relation to colorectal cancer susceptibility
Advisor: Amanda Toland, PhD