The Cancer Center at Illinois is excited to announce the inaugural recipients of the Kristine Neuhoff Twyman Breast Cancer Scholarship. Qianying Zuo, an Illinois graduate student in food science and nutrition, and Joy Chen, a bioengineering undergraduate, were awarded with the Fall 2020 scholarship.
Kristine Neuhoff Twyman (LAS ’89) lost her battle with breast cancer and as a way to honor her memory, her husband Scott established a scholarship supporting students conducting research that will impact the lives of other individuals diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Receiving the Kristine Neuhoff Twyman Breast Cancer Scholarship means a lot to me. I have always been trying to make my research relevant and helpful to save more lives,” said Zuo.
Zuo has been actively pursuing cancer research studies since joining CCIL member Zeynep Madak-Erdogan’s laboratory group in 2017. Zuo is currently developing 3D metastatic breast tissue models to study the impact of diet on therapy responses.
“Qianying oversees and functions in interdisciplinary teams that tackle various breast cancer related issues, such as therapy resistance and metabolic regulation in different metastatic sites,” said Madak-Erdogan, associate professor of nutrition. “She is very talented, smart, curious, and one of the best experimentalist I have ever seen in my career.”
Joy Chen, also a student in the CCIL’s Cancer Scholars Program, has been pursuing a cancer research career since high school. Her first introduction to the field was through researcHStart, a donor-funded program that puts young adults in the labs of cancer researchers throughout the state of Illinois.
“The mission behind this scholarship is a powerful one, as research in the breast cancer field is critical. I am appreciative to have received this scholarship and intend to continue research in the cancer field during graduate school,” said Chen.
Chen serves as a student research in CCIL member Erik Nelson’s lab. She’s working on a project studying the role of cholesterol in breast cancer metastasis and reoccurrence from dormancy.
“Joy is one of the strongest undergraduate researchers that I have ever worked with, and has all the attributes of a rising star. She is a very quick study, and can work independently after a brief training, and she also functions well in a group. In short, Joy has it all, and embodies the nature of this scholarship,” said Nelson, associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology.
— Written by Jordan Goebig, Communications Coordinator