After months of research, testing and preparation, Hyohyun “Esther” Park, a senior cell biology major, presented a poster on her cancer research project in Washington, D.C.
Park presented along with Deanna Fry, also a senior cell biology major, at the American Institute for Cancer Research on Nov. 14-16.
Dr. Steve Figard, who is BJU’s director of Cancer Research, accompanied Park and Fry.
Park was able to participate in this year’s American Institute for Cancer Research Conference because the results of her experiment had not been documented by anyone else.
Among the many scientists and graduate students, Park and Fry were two of the very few presenters who are still undergraduates.
Fry said they were able to represent BJU and ultimately Christ in a positive way through their excellence.
“There were a lot of posters presented. Most [of the other presenters] hadn’t heard of Bob Jones [University],” Fry said.
“Most of the schools were like Ohio State or Harvard or Purdue—big universities. And then here’s little Bob Jones [University], and we’re presenting with the rest of them. And our results are just as good as theirs.”
Park said this trip showed her the quality of the education she is receiving.
“I was able to enhance my knowledge in the subjects I have been taking at BJU,” Park said.
“The quality of this school’s education is really superb. I found myself being able to learn and apply what I’ve learned.”
Park’s study began the summer of 2016. Both Park and Fry were part of Research Immersion for Undergraduates (RUI), a cancer research team on campus headed up by Dr. Steve Figard.
This program is designed to help undergraduates refine their scientific ability through hands-on research.
Throughout the summer, Park studied almond nuts and their effects on cancer—specifically gastric and colon cancer.
Because Fry’s summer research endeavors were not successful, Park continued her research on her own when the fall semester began.
Finally, two nights before the submission deadline to American Institute for Cancer Research, Park said that she was able to get good data. Park had to write and analyze her data in two days.
“I basically pulled an all-nighter,” Park said. “But I am so thankful to my teachers who helped me write the data and to my director who helped me analyze the data.”
Park received the news that she was accepted early in October.
Park views her work on cancer research from a biblical perspective.
“What I found fascinating about my project over the summer was that I was able to find and demonstrate God’s love for us through even nuts,” Park said.
“The Fall affected us and our health. Cancer is a mutation happening in your body and that is one of those aftermaths of the Fall. But God knew that before we sinned, so He designed nuts to have cytotoxic agents [that fight against cancer]. I think it demonstrates God’s love really well.”
Both Park and Fry are thankful for this opportunity to present. “It was a wonderful experience,” Fry said.