(September 28, 2018) Senior Jackson English had a rare look into research work involving cancer. He was one of only 65 applicants from around the country to be accepted into the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy.
The Hillman Academy provides rising high school seniors with eight weeks of research-focused and experiential learning opportunities at six locations. Scholars work on their own research project in a dedicated research mentor's laboratory. At the end of the program, scholars present their projects as an oral presentation and in a poster session. Participating scholars also learn important skills to help prepare them for success in college and in their future careers in science and medicine.
Jackson focused on cancer research and testing full-time from June to August this summer. His project was entitled ATR kinase inhibition promotes generation antigen-specific CD8+T Cells. He specifically focused on the immune system and worked with laboratory mice.
“I enjoyed the experience a lot,” said Jackson. “I met a lot of people with different backgrounds. I learned more about research in the lab setting and procedures.”
Jackson also had a chance to help with clinical trials for psoriasis the summer prior at the Falk Clinic.
Jackson plans to study at the University of Pittsburgh this fall and go to medical school with the hopes of becoming an oncologist or dermatologist someday. His father is a dermatologist and his mother works in the medical insurance field.
His friend Zachary Kass-Gerji was the inspiration behind his plans to study oncology. Zachary passed away in March after a courageous battle with cancer.
Jackson and fellow senior Mason Pruhs have been organizing fundraisers in memory of Zachary for Make-A-Wish.