In Weicksel Lab, students seek to identify new genes involved with melanoma

Source: Bryant News, July 2023

It’s a Thursday morning in July and Lauren Rothwell ’26 sits in one of Bryant’s research labs concentrating on a row of vials. Hovering a pipette over the third glass tube, she is busy setting up glycerol stocks to freeze bacteria. Since May, she and fellow researcher Makayla Griffin ’24 have worked with Biological and Biomedical Sciences Professor Steven Weicksel, Ph.D., on two ongoing melanoma-related research projects. Their long-term goal is to identify new genes involved with cancer, so it can help further people’s understanding of the disease.

“Cancer is characterized by unregulated cell growth and stems from changes in an organism’s genome, leading to misregulation of the genes,” says Weicksel.

Approximately 1.9 million new cancer cases are projected to occur in the United States in 2023, according to the American Cancer Society, and a report from the Skin Cancer Foundation reveals that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common form of cancer worldwide, by age 70.