April 20, 2018

Showcasing Research

Symposium of Student Scholars attracts highest number of presenters in its 23-year history

Steven Ho was inspired to help fight cancer by seeing friends battling the disease, and he began attending Kennesaw State’s annual Relay for Life even before he became a student at the University.

Now a junior biology major at KSU, Ho has added the role of cancer researcher. Ho is working with professors Jonathan McMurry and Julia LeCher on research that potentially could result in new medical treatments to help fight cancer.

Photo of Biology student giving research presentation at the 2018 Symposium of Student ScholarsHo presented his research Thursday at Kennesaw State’s Symposium of Student Scholars, an annual showcase of student scholarship conducted during the past academic year. He was among the 441 students presenting 280 projects, the highest numbers in the symposium’s 23-year history.

The research involves “stressing out a cell” so that a particular protein moves from the cytoplasm to the mitochondria, causing the cell to die, Ho explained. Essentially, the cell would kill itself off and no longer be cancerous. So far, the research team has been able to prove that they can get their protein inside the cell using cell-penetrating peptides, but they still need more data to conclude whether or not the process works.

“What draws me into research is being the first to do something,” Ho said. “It’s a major challenge in research to produce results because no one else is doing the kinds of things that I’m doing. I can work for an entire semester and still have no results. But once something finally works? It’s kind of amazing.”

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