Henry Deap, undergraduate studying cell biology
Cancer Scholars Program, 2019 Cohort

Hometown: Mundelein, Ill.

Do you have past experience working in a cancer research laboratory?

Yes, I worked with Gregory Karczmar, PhD, Professor of Radiology at the University of Chicago. During my time in this research lab, I used MATLAB, a programming language, to create a code that highlighted regions of interest (ROIs) of cancerous breast cells.

In simpler terms, this code would examine a patient’s MRI scan and locate areas of potential malignant tumors. This was able to occur due to the difference in behaviors between normal tissues and cancerous ones. Blood vessels would enter normal tissues in an organized fashion, whereas blood vessels in cancerous tissues would have an erratic uptake. This would result in a glowing region of the specific cancerous cells in the MRI scan

What first led you to your interest in science?

My freshman year biology class in high school hooked me onto the path of science. From there, I was able to learn more about the different sciences and their interdependence.

Why is cancer research important to you?

Cancer research has been my biggest priority because of its impact. Cancer affects everybody indiscriminately. There is no “one” cure that can treat all patients. With this in mind, there are many avenues of cancer research that contain promising outlooks. I look forward to learning more about the different types of therapies and preventative measures.

What are you most looking forward to as a student in the Cancer Scholars Program?

I always look forward to interacting with my fellow Cancer Scholars. It is rare to find students that conduct research or have an interest in oncology, so being in a cohort with these students has exposed me to different avenues of cancer research. Also, my fellow Cancer Scholars are extremely bright, and I enjoy hearing about their different experiences.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I hope to attend medical school after my undergraduate studies and continue pursuing a career in medicine. As of right now, I would like to specialize in radiation oncology, but as with all things, that could change.

What are your personal interests, outside of your research?

Outside of medicine, I enjoy fitness and photography. I think it is important to exercise daily in order to strengthen one’s physical well-being. Photography is a very calming hobby that allows me to capture a cinematic shot. I think both hobbies keep me focus and grounded especially during stressful times.