The Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) hosted its first-ever Undergraduate Research Symposium on Tuesday, April 25, in conjunction with the university’s Undergraduate Research Week. Eighteen students presented posters on a variety of cancer-focused research themes.

Students Hannah McGee, Myra Kamdar, and Vedant Jain teamed up to present their research project, “Examining the Therapeutic Potential of Combining Eltanexor with Tamoxifen to Treat Primary and Metastatic ER+ Tumors,” which they performed under the guidance of principal investigator and CCIL researcher Zeynep Madak-Erdogan.

“I can’t say enough about CCIL. I am so grateful for the numerous opportunities I’ve been given, such as this symposium, to further my education in the field of cancer research,” said Myra, CCIL-Student Organization president and a senior studying MCB, psychology, and bioengineering. Myra plans to further her scientific career next year in medical school, where she desires to continue research in drug resistance, which she is currently studying in Zeynep’s lab.

“I am so lucky to be a part of Prof. Madak-Erdogan’s lab and this research symposium. As a freshman, I was intimated to join the team, but now I am learning so much and benefiting from such great research experience,” said Hanna, a freshman in biology.

Jacob Minin presented his research, “Investigating Relationships between Colorectal Cancer and Agricultural Practices,” a project he independently initiated vis-à-vis the inspiration he gained from a Campus Honors Program course. Jacob has been a member of CCIL’s Cancer Scholars Program and the Illini 4000 since his freshman year. As a cyclist, triathlete, passionate storyteller, and an undergraduate cancer researcher, his involvement with the Illini 4000 has been a natural fit where he is not only a rider (he did his cross-country ride in 2021) but also the director of the Illini 4000 Portraits Project.

This CCIL symposium took place through the initiative of CCIL’s educational program leadership team members Marci Pool and Kristin Giglietti. “We are very pleased with the turnout for our inaugural symposium, where everyone was able to observe the tremendous interdisciplinary work the students are performing. The presenters should be very proud of all that they have accomplished and the ways that they contribute to CCIL’s mission to transform cancer research,” said event co-organizer Kristin Giglietti.

The CCIL wishes to thank the Illini 4000 for their generous support in underwriting this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. If you would like to request access to photos from this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, please contact event co-organizer Kristin Giglietti.

Editor’s notes:

Written by Jonathan King, CCIL Communications Team