Collaborating on Cancer Research - Hobart and William Smith Colleges
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Alvin Randall ’19 holds up his assay to test potential anti-cancer agents on MCF-7 breast cancer cells in Rosenberg Hall.

Collaborating on Cancer Research

Under the direction of Associate Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery (left), Alvin Randall ’19 develops an assay to test potential anti-cancer agents on MCF-7 breast cancer cells in Rosenberg Hall.

Under the direction of Associate Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery, Alvin Randall ’19 develops an assay to test potential anti-cancer agents on MCF-7 breast cancer cells in Rosenberg Hall.

Under the direction of Associate Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery, Alvin Randall ’19 has been developing protocol modifications for assessing cell metabolic activity within breast cancer cells. Randall’s work is the latest in Mowery’s ongoing research aimed at examining the biological activity of analogs synthesized by the laboratory group of Professor of Chemistry Erin Pelkey.

For Randall, the study is his first research experience. A biochemistry major, he is contributing to the extensive efforts of Mowery and Pelkey, who have been examining anti-cancer analogs through ongoing research recently published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Mowery and Randall’s work is essential for understanding of “structural ‘rules’ for inducing cell death,” a development that can help researchers develop more potent and more specific compounds.

“Our compounds are based on a known molecule synthesized by bacteria that inhibits proteins important in cancer, but the known molecule is to non-specific to be used in drug treatment,” explains Mowery, who will continue research this summer with Andrew Hermann ’19 and Bri Hurysz ’20.

“Working alongside Professor Mowery has given me the opportunity to ask questions and learn in a hands-on way. After several weeks, I am more capable and confident in conducting research,” says Randall.

Originally intending to pursue a career as a physician, Randall discovered that his interests aligned more strongly with research after shadowing doctors over the past few years. “What really got me hooked on biochemistry is the complexity of the human body. It’s a unique, beautiful mechanism and I’m really interested in figuring it out,” says Randall, who will work at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station this summer, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical research.

On campus, Randall is the acting president and former vice president of the Campus Activities Board. He is a Resident Assistant and a first-generation college student.

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