Research experience seeking to empower children survivors of cancer

Dereck Lau, Rosa-Maria FerraiuoloThirteen-year-old cancer survivor Dereck Lau looks through a microscope under the watchful eye of Rosa-Maria Ferraiuolo (BSc 2009, PhD 2015), a research associate in biology professor Lisa Porter’s lab.

Cancer is scary, but understanding the ways that research is seeking cures and better treatments can be empowering for survivors and their families. Dereck Lau learned that first-hand last week as the inaugural participant in “Cancer Researcher for a Day.”

The program of the Windsor Cancer Research Group allows child cancer survivors and their siblings to participate in a hands-on research experience in laboratories across the University of Windsor campus, followed by a half-day clinical trials “rotation” at Windsor Regional Hospital Cancer Centre.

“We’re using research as a tool to empower youth through their cancer journey and encourage them to be research ambassadors,” says Karen Metcalfe, assistant director of the Windsor Cancer Research Group.

Lau, a 13-year-old survivor of brain cancer, and his younger sister Morgyn Lau visited five UWindsor labs Friday, November 10, those of: Lisa Porter in biological sciences, Luis Rueda in computer science, Matthew Krause in human kinetics, John Trant and Siyaram Pandey in chemistry and biochemistry.

The siblings completed their experience Monday at Windsor Regional Hospital. See an album of photographs from both days.