MANSFIELD – Mansfield University’s research and collaboration with the American Cancer Society was featured in a showcase as part of MU’s virtual homecoming 2020.

The showcase was developed by Director of Alumni Affairs & Advancement, Casey Wood ‘02, and led by Mansfield University Biology Professor Dr. Kristen Long, and Dr. Arnold Baskies, Oncology Surgeon, Clinical Professor, and Chairman, ACS Global Cancer Control Advisory Council. The event was moderated by WENY-TV’s Renata Stiehl ‘04 and featured former and current Mansfield University cancer research students.

Drs. Long and Baskies discussed the research initiatives that Dr. Long and her students are engaging in, including ResearcHERS, an empowerment program through the American Cancer Society (ACS) that appoints prominent female Ambassadors to share scientific discoveries and promote the need for women in research and leadership roles. Dr. Long was nominated and is supported in this ambassadorship by Dr. Baskies.

Dr. Baskies, who completed his cancer surgical fellowship and tumor immunology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, participated in the world’s first clinical trial that showed a positive effect for immune therapy. He went on to pioneer the first immunotherapy treatments for patients with brain malignancy. Dr. Baskies is the recipient of major awards in cancer research from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Radium Society, the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, and the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Long, who is serving as an Advisory Board member for ACS’s Northeastern Pennsylvania Section in addition to her efforts as a ResearcHERS Ambassador, started her career in pancreatic cancer research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Since joining Mansfield University in 2016, Long has advised over 15 independent research student projects focused on pancreatic cancer.

Three of Long’s former research students joined the event, including Sarah Cale ‘17, Stephanie Hendricks ‘17, and Adrianna Vaskas ‘19. Cale, a graduate of Mansfield’s Cell and Molecular Biology program, graduated with a Master of Science in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University in 2019. She is currently employed as a Research Assistant at A&G Pharmaceutical. Hendricks, a graduate of Mansfield’s Biology program, is now in her fourth year of a Doctor of Pharmacy program at Purdue University. Vaskas ‘19, a graduate of Mansfield’s Cell and Molecular Biology program, works in ApolloMD’s Emergency Departments. Two of Long’s current research students, Brittney Atkins ‘21 and Caitlin Beauduy ‘21, both Cell and Molecular Biology majors, also joined the event. Beauduy, Atkins, and Vaskas are recipients of a NASA Research Scholarship for their continued efforts with Dr. Long.

The homecoming event included an introductory video and a round table discussion with the panelists. The current students and graduates gave heartfelt testaments regarding the vital role of Mansfield University, and Long’s research laboratory has played in their young yet already decorated careers. James Kane, Senior Manager of Community Development at ACS, highlighted Mansfield University as an important partner with ACS, naming additional efforts including Relay for Life and this year’s #20for20 initiative promoted by Mansfield’s Football team.

The event culminated with the question, “What gives you hope about the future of cancer research?” to which Long responded, “The support, passion, and dedication of these young ladies and other young people on this call gives me hope in the fight against cancer.”

For more information about active research occurring in MU’s Department of Natural Sciences, please visit mansfield.edu/majors-and-minors/biology/.

To support pancreatic cancer research at Mansfield University, please visit give.mansfield.edu and choose “Student Research and Creative Activities” and identify “Pancreatic Cancer Research” in the comments section.

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