MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Five undergraduate students completed cancer research fellowships at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center this summer.  

Sarah Cowen, Nathaniel Linville, Suzan Bilgesu, Susan Kurian, and Colleen Beatty shared their research findings with their peers and mentors during a recent symposium at the Cancer Center.

The highly competitive Summer Research Fellowship Program at the MBRCC provides funding and opportunities for undergraduate students who want to pursue careers in cancer research or medicine. Students receive a $4,000 stipend and are paired with a WVU cancer scientist for a 10-week research project.

Sarah Cowen studied the effects of obesity on different outcomes of breast cancer with her mentor, Linda Vona-Davis, Ph.D. Sarah is the daughter of Tom and Sue Cowen of Saline, Mich. She is a WVU senior majoring in biology.

Nathaniel Linville studied a technique that could be used to stop cancer from spreading with his mentor, Alexey Ivanov.  Nathaniel is the son of Mark and Mary Linville of Madison, W.Va. He is a WVU junior majoring in biochemistry.

Suzan Bilgesu studied a class of compounds called aryl hydrazines that interact with DNA and are believed to contribute to cancer growth. Her mentor was Pete Gannett, Ph.D. Suzan is the daughter of Nilufer and Ilkin Bilgesu of Morgantown. She is a WVU senior majoring in biology.

Susan Kurian studied the change in function of the bone marrow microenvironment after exposure to chemotherapy drugs. Laura Gibson, Ph.D., was Susan's mentor. Susan is the daughter of Sobha Kurian of Morgantown. She is a sophomore at Shepherd University and is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.

Colleen Beatty’s research focused on identifying additional molecular markers of invasiveness in head and neck cancer. Her mentor was Scott Weed, Ph.D. Colleen is the daughter of Bill and Lynn Beatty of Upper Tract. She is a WVU senior majoring in biology with a minor in history.

Financial support for the fellowship program comes from the Edwin C. Spurlock Fellowship Fund, the Edward L. Reed Cancer Research Endowment, the Dr. David B. McClung Cancer Research Endowment Fund, and the Joe Marconi Cancer Research Fellowship Endowment.

For information on the fellowship program at the WVU Cancer Center, see

Photo caption: (From left to right) Suzan Bilgesu, Nathaniel Linville, Colleen Beatty, and Susan Kurian presented the work they did as part of the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center’s Summer Research Fellowship Program on Tuesday (Aug. 9) at the Cancer Center. Not pictured is Sarah Cowen, the fifth summer research fellow.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ss: 08-09-11