Gerontology undergrads Brandon Glousman and Jung-Gi Min did not rest on their laurels after earning scholarships from the Summer Undergraduate Research Associates Program and the USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Instead, they went on to also win first prize in the life sciences division of USC’s 15th Annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work.
“I’m so proud of them for so many reasons, including their genuine interest in research, their excellent work ethic and their great teamwork,” said their faculty sponsor, Changhan David Lee, of the USC Leonard Davis School. “Their almost palpable excitement of discovery is a great source of enthusiasm for the lab, and they’re also fun, great guys to have around.”
Glousman and Min’s study, titled, “Targeting Cancer Metabolism: The Effects of a Novel Mitochondrial-Derived Peptide on Breast Cancer Progression” showed the possibility of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer by targeting metabolism, as well as the potential role of the mitochondria as a significant communicator in the progression of cancer.
“The experiment took a lot of hard work and long hours, but it all paid off. I am so grateful to have joined such a supportive lab and have been under the guidance of our amazing mentor, Dr. Lee,” Glousman said. “He has provided us with a unique opportunity to dive deeply into research to the extent expected of PhD candidates.”
“I am really honored that we won in the midst of such amazing projects from all over the university,” Min said. “Dr. Lee demands excellence and does not cut us any slack for being ‘undergraduate researchers’ and I am so proud to have represented the School of Gerontology and our lab as centers of undergraduate research.”
The duo plans on expanding their research to see if the mitochondrial-derived peptide, named MOTS-c, has similar effects on the progression of prostate cancer as well.
“Besides being remarkable rising scientists and scholars, Brandon and Jung-Gi exemplify the highest ideals of our School and our field itself,” said Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School. “We fully expect these exceptional young men to change the face of gerontology and look forward to what they accomplish next.”