UK HealthCare

Cancer Research Highlighted in Day-long Spotlight Event

Cancer Research Day 2022
Researchers present their work at the 2022 UK Markey Cancer Center's Cancer Research Day.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2022) – Hundreds of people are learning about the robust cancer-related research happening at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

Sponsored by the Markey Cancer Foundation, Markey Research Day is an opportunity for researchers who study any aspect of cancer to share their work and receive feedback from colleagues across campus. The work on display at Research Day showcases the wide variety and diversity of perspectives that fall under the Markey umbrella.

After a two-year in-person hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Research Day featured 97 poster abstracts. Many seasoned researchers present their work; however, high school, undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, as well as junior researchers and staff, can submit work and have their poster presentation judged by faculty members.

Morning sessions included oral presentations by:

  • Sumati R. Hasani, graduate student – “Activation of Drp1 promotes fatty acids-induced metabolic reprogramming to potentiate Wnt signaling in colon cancer”
  • Jennifer T. Castle, M.D., surgery resident and postdoctoral fellow – “Inhibition of De Novo and Salvage pathways for dNTP synthesis enhances sensitivity to ionizing radiation in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cells”
  • Yanquan Zhang, Ph.D., scientist – “Taxol-elevated PLK1 overcomes BETi-resistant in prostate cancer via triggering phosphorylation-dependent degradation of BRD4”
  • Ren Xu, Ph.D., faculty – “ECM network in breast cancer progression”
  • Pamela C. Hull, Ph.D., faculty – “Improving HPV Vaccination for Cancer Prevention”

In the afternoon, Vanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D., from Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, gave the Gilbert H. Friedell, M.D., Memorial Lecture.

This year’s Markey Women Strong Research award was presented by Katie Alford, founding member of the Markey Women Strong program. This prize is split between two researchers whose groundbreaking work addresses the cancer burden among women. This year’s award was given to Jill Kolesar, Pharm.D., a professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, and Krystle Kuhs, Ph.D., associate professor in the UK College of Public Health.

B. Mark Evers, M.D., director of the UK Markey Cancer Center, gave his annual “State of the Cancer Center” address. Finishing off the presentations, the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture was given by Ann Richmond, Ph.D., professor of cancer biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Markey Research Day concluded with a poster award ceremony. The winners are:

Graduate Student – Basic Science

First Place: Sumati Hasani – “Activation of Drp1 promotes fatty acids-induced metabolic reprogramming to potentiate Wnt signaling in colon cancer

Second Place: Jeffery Jolly – “Impact of post-translational modifications on the stability and function of the oncogenic phosphatase PRL-3

Third Place: Anna Kristin Miller – “HlTf AnD sHpRh In MiSmAtCh RePaIr AnD cAnCeR”

Graduate Student – Clinical

First Place: Shista Priyadarshini – “SSTR-2 expression in solid tumors: An immunohistochemistry analysis”

Second Place: Lauren Dietz – “Novel pharmacogenetics mobile application as an educational intervention for patients and providers”

Third Place: Anne Lasher – “Findings on ovarian cyst resolution for the practicing physician based on cyst diameter”

Postdoc – Basic Science

First Place: Jinghui Liu – “A kinome-wide CRISPR screen identifies CK1α as a novel target to overcome enzalutamide resistance of prostate cancer”

First Place: Yanquan Zhang – “Taxol-elevated PLK1 overcomes BETi resistant via phosphorylating and triggering degradation of BRD4 in prostate cancer”

Second Place: Namrata Anand – “Engineered M1 macrophages for targeted delivery of cisplatin drug in osteosarcoma cells: an in virtro study

Third Place: David Schweer – “Human macrophage-engineered vesicles for utilization in ovarian cancer treatment”

Postdoc – Clinical

First Place: Jessica Thompson – “Prioritizing cancer needs across Kentucky: A community-engaged concept mapping project

Second Place: Quan Chen – “Structural equation modeling of healthcare access dimensions with ovarian cancer treatment: An analysis of the Ovarian Cancer Epidemiology, Healthcare Access and Disparities (ORCHiD) study

Third Place: Autumn Hammonds – “Impact of cytologic rapid on-site evaluation on pancreatic biopsy diagnostic rate”

Overall (Tie)

First Place: Jinghui Liu – “A kinome-wide CRISPR screen identifies CK1α as a novel target to overcome enzalutamide resistance of prostate cancer”

First Place: Yanquan Zhang – “Taxol-elevated PLK1 overcomes BETi resistant via phosphorylating and triggering degradation of BRD4 in prostate cancer”

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 four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, 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 five 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.