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News > Club News > WIB-Seattle News > YWIB-Seattle: Cancer Drug Discovery Panel and Hands-On Lab With Fred Hutch, April 24, 2024

YWIB-Seattle: Cancer Drug Discovery Panel and Hands-On Lab With Fred Hutch, April 24, 2024



YWIB-Seattle hosted an event for ten high school students at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FHCC) in South Lake Union with their Training Labs Program. Our host at Fred Hutch was Dave Vannier, PhD. Dr. Vannier is a Sr. Staff Scientist at Fred Hutch and facilitates their Summer High School Internship and Pathways Undergraduate Researchers Programs. The event began with a spectacular presentation and panel where students heard from three women scientists at FHCC about their educational and professional paths in cancer research and drug development. Their experiences ranged from laboratory research to manufacturing. During the Q&A, students asked insightful questions about navigating their own educational journeys and were encouraged to ask about topics that interested them. Dr. Vannier then discussed concepts of hematopoietic stem cells, the causes of leukemia, and the development of targeted treatments, which provided the background information for the lab activity. Students learned about the fundamentals of gel electrophoresis and how this technique is used to analyze patient DNA.

Then, students put on their lab coats and headed into the lab! Kenson Jean led the lab activity, with support from Sara Pernikoff and Katrina Poljakov. Students used gel electrophoresis to investigate patient DNA and determine which leukemia patients could be treated with Gleevec, a targeted therapy medication. Students worked in pairs to set up their gels, prepare their samples, and analyze their results. For many students, this was their first time using a micropipette and performing a gel electrophoresis. It was exciting to see students understand the connection between the lab activity and clinical research.

Submitted by Amelia Johnson

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