Austin College to hold women’s health and cancer forum

mani-oFeatured speaker to address cancer progression and stem cells

Austin College welcomes Dr. Sendurai Mani, associate professor in the department of Translational Molecular Pathology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to present “The Role of EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) and Stem Cells in Cancer Progression” at the Austin College Women’s Health and Cancer Forum on November 29 at 4:30 p.m. The forum events, supported by the Discovery Foundation and to be held in the Austin College IDEA Center’s Page Atrium and Room 127, are free and open to the public.

Mani is co-director of three MDACC groups related to metastasis research, and stem cell and developmental biology. He has received many awards related to his field, most recently the American Cancer Society Research Scholar for three consecutive years, 2012-2015.

Dr. Lance Barton, associate professor of biology at Austin College, began offering a course in Cancer Biology in 2014 and received support for the course from The Discovery Foundation of Dallas, Texas, in 2015. He used data gathered by his independent research students to develop the research project and accompanying course. The course integrates novel research into the laboratory portion of the class. Students in the class (and during a summer research component) generate new cancer cell lines through mutagenesis that can be further characterized in the course. For each new cell line generated, students collect data on genetic and genomic instability, metastatic potential, and proliferative capacity, while also learning the biological mechanisms behind these phenotypes of cancer and delving deeply into the primary literature through classroom discussions.

Prior to Mani’s lecture, Austin College students will present posters on various biology and cancer research topics in the IDEA Center Atrium at 3:30 p.m. Presenters from the Cancer Biology class include Madison Aliff ’17 of Placerville, California; Daniel Ahle ’17 of Plano, Texas; Victoria Campbell ’17 of Oakdale, Minnesota; Brandon Dang ’17 of Frisco, Texas; Alexandra Fusco ’17 of Ennis, Texas; Jay Jeon ’17 of Dallas, Texas; Simran Likhari ’18 of Plano, Texas; and Jason Shin ’17 of Southlake, Texas.

Presenters from Barton’s lab include Hannah Butterfield ’19 of Fort Worth, Texas; George Melchor ’17 of Uvalde, Texas; Kylie Peterson ’17 of Plano, Texas; and Dilan Shah ’17 of McKinney, Texas. Presenters from the research group of Dr. Brad Smucker, associate professor of chemistry, include Jiandu Hu ’18 of Guangzhou, China; and Marie Mortenson ’18 of Lucas, Texas.

Anna Nevels ’17 of Allen, Texas, will present from the group of Dr. James Hebda, assistant professor of chemistry, and Francisco Neal ’17 of Tesuque, New Mexico, will present his work from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at UT Southwestern. Posters will be on display in the Page Atrium through November 30.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.