Advancing STU Undergraduate Cancer Research

Did you know about our School of Science Cancer Research Laboratory? After Florida Blue awarded the University a grant for the startup of the new facility, its research programs now focus on drug discovery and identification of novel targets for the treatment of cancer. The aim is not only to involve the students in innovative research, but to stimulate the interest in science. Florida is a melting pot of various cultures and races, each rich in their own traditional plant and herbal medicine use. And STU undergraduates have the chance to scientifically prove the potential anticancer activity of local plants and herbs.

The research projects - led by Dr. Severine Van slambrouck, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacist - merge several scientific disciplines and enrich the understanding of what the students learn in college coursework. Other University professors are contributing in an interdisciplinary approach and applied techniques, including Dr. Pilar Maul, Associate Professor of Biology and Dr. Maria Pina, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Thanks to devoted faculty and  mentoring, many students discover a new passion for research and decide to broaden their knowledge to more advanced or collaborative projects, including medical chemistry or mathematical modeling as well as basic and translational research. 

Over the past two years, more than 30 undergraduate students have been involved in a variety of cancer research projects. There is the Drug Discovery research project for beginners, a step-by-step learning experience to work with equipment, collect data and other crucial insights. Then there is an advanced student project with local plants being tested, which often come from the University forest. Analyzing the powder components and going through “team-based learning”, students are now preparing to present their research paper in May 2014 and submit to the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research for review. Any of your friends interested in developing their science potential?