GREENVILLE, S.C. (June 27, 2016) – Michael Pettit, a junior cell biology major at Bob Jones University, is serving this summer as an intern for the Research Immersion for Undergraduates (RIU) program as a part of the Bob Jones University Cancer Research Lab in Greenville, South Carolina.
“The RIU program is a research-based approach to support undergraduate learning, as well as to create an opportunity for undergraduates to actively engage in both research and other avenues of scientific inquiry,” says Dr. Steve Figard, Director of Cancer Research as well as a biology professor at BJU. “There is increasing data that shows that students who do extensive research projects as undergraduates pursue graduate education and additional research opportunities at higher rates and will have improved academic achievement and graduation rates, while developing fundamental critical-thinking skills.”
Pettit, a resident of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, is working with beaded lizard venom to isolate specific proteins within it to potentially make affordable and safer treatments for cancer cells. Pettit’s work includes getting venom samples, treating the venom to isolate certain compounds, tailoring those compounds to target cancer cells, and ensuring that these compounds are designed in such a way as to only target cancer cells even in the presence of healthy cells.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for me to put to practice all of the things I have learned as a student here at BJU,” says Pettit. “I am also grateful for the ability to work with colleagues in a godly environment and am confident that this experience will help prepare me in a very real way to go out into the world as a hard worker and witness in the lab workplace.”