Authors: Dr. Zijlstra and Dr. Angela Eeds
Lu Zheng, a senior from Hume-Fogg Magnet High School in Nashville and participant in the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV), was selected as semifinalist in the US national Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology for using computational analysis of tissue-based biomarkers in cancer.
Zheng’s research project, “Assessing the Utility of Computational Analysis of Tissue-Based Biomarkers to Predict Recurrence in Bladder Cancer,” was selected from nearly 2,000 projects submitted. Zheng is one of nine semifinalists from Tennessee and 491 semifinalists overall.
Zheng conducted the research under the mentorship of research assistant professor Shanna Arnold, in the laboratory of Andries Zijlstra, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and the Program of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Zheng’s work focused on predicting the outcome of bladder cancer patients treated by surgical resection of the bladder (cystectomy) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Up to 50% of these patients with bladder cancer will develop distant disease within two years after complete surgical removal of the bladder and associated tumor. Identifying patients who require more aggressive therapy compared to watchful-waiting could improve outcome in patients whose disease is more likely to spread, prevent overtreatment of patients who will not respond to the intervention, and reduce overall healthcare costs.