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Undergrads honored for cancer study

Gene Bickers, USC vice provost for undergraduate programs, congratulates Brandon Glousman and Jung-Gi Min.

After earning scholarships from the Summer Undergraduate Research Associates program and the USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, USC undergraduates Brandon Glousman and Jung-Gi Min did not rest on their laurels. Instead, they went on to win first prize in the life sciences division of USC’s 15th Annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work held in May.

“I’m so proud of them for so many reasons, including their genuine interest in research, their excellent work ethic and their great teamwork,” said their faculty sponsor, Changhan David Lee, research assistant professor at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. “Their almost palpable excitement of discovery is a great source of enthusiasm for the lab, and they’re also fun, great guys to have around.”

Titled “Targeting Cancer Metabolism: The Effects of a Novel Mitochondrial-Derived Peptide on Breast Cancer Progression,” Glousman and Min’s study showed the possibility of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer by targeting metabolism. It also demonstrated the potential role of the mitochondria as a significant communicator in the progression of cancer.

“The experiment took a lot of hard work and long hours, but it all paid off. I am so grateful to have joined such a supportive lab and have been under the guidance of our amazing mentor, Dr. Lee,” Glousman said. “He has provided us with a unique opportunity to dive deeply into research to the extent expected of PhD candidates.”

Min added: “I am really honored that we won in the midst of such amazing projects from all over the university. Dr. Lee demands excellence and does not cut us any slack for being ‘undergraduate researchers,’ and I am so proud to have represented the School of Gerontology and our lab as centers of undergraduate research.”

The duo plans to expand its research to see if the mitochondrial-derived peptide, named MOTS-c, has similar effects on the progession of prostate cancer.

“Besides being remarkable rising scientists and scholars, Brandon and Jung-Gi exemplify the highest ideals of our school and our field itself,” said Pinchas Cohen, dean of USC Davis. “We fully expect these exceptional young men to change the face of gerontology and look forward to what they accomplish next.”

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Undergrads honored for cancer study

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