UK HealthCare

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

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Ren Xu
Ashley Stevens

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2019) – 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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for,”  and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.