Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Caitlin Beauduy ‘21 earns NASA-funded research scholarship for work on pancreatic cancer

Caitlin Beauduy, a senior cell and molecular biology student at Mansfield University, received a $4,000 research scholarship from the NASA Pennsylvania State Grant Consortium for her proposal on pancreatic cancer.

The funding supports Beauduy’s continued investigation into the effect of T cells on solid pancreas tumors.

“With the financial support that the NASA scholarship provides, we can investigate the impact of the presence of T cells, a main component of our immune system, on the development of pancreatic tumors” explained Beauduy, a native of New Cumberland, Pa. “The role of T cells in this process is not well understood, but it is clear that they do significantly influence the tumors’ physical appearance and response to certain therapies.

“We have high hopes for what we could find, and at the very least, it will help us develop a deeper understanding as to what is happening on a molecular level. In turn, this research could encourage greater success with cancer treatments in different stages.”

Beauduy’s research project will be completed under the advisement of Dr. Kristen Long, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Mansfield University. Dr. Long’s laboratory focuses on the physical and immunological aspects of pancreatic cancer and how both contribute to tumor resistance to standard cancer therapies that are typically effective against other types of cancer.

The research is a continuation of the project established by Adrianna Vaskas ’19. Vaskas and Catherine Troutman ’20 also each received a NASA research scholarship under Long’s advisement and are currently pursing advanced degrees in graduate programs.

“I became interested in biomedical research because of lecture and laboratory exposure at Mansfield University and I’m very excited to continue pursuing research to develop a more in-depth understanding of disease, cancer specifically.” In addition to contributing novel findings to the field of pancreatic cancer, this research scholarship will help Beauduy on a personal level. “As an undergraduate student, this research will provide invaluable experience that I can apply in the next stages of my career at medical school.”

NASA Pennsylvania State Grant Consortium Scholarships are awarded to rising juniors and seniors attending an accredited Pennsylvania college or university and are enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program. Scholarship recipients agree to participate in multiple education outreach and mentoring activities throughout the award cycle.

For more information on the Biology program at Mansfield University or to learn more about this and other active research projects in Dr. Long’s laboratory, please visit mansfield.edu/biology.​


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