PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

FGCU Home to New Cancer Research Program

Rachel Iacovone
Then-senior biology major Sara Lohbauer and a fellow student researcher lyse the cancer cells to analyze their growth in the spring semester 2017.

There are some world-renowned cancer research facilities in the state of Florida — the Moffitt Center and the Mayo Clinic to name a couple — but until now, Southwest Florida went without such a program.

Florida Gulf Coast University birthed its own cancer research program just shy of a year ago, but it was students who were the driving force behind its inception. 

RELATED: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?

When WGCU first talked with the FGCU Cancer Research Program, it was sharing lab space with a fruit fly study and had little equipment to share between its members. Now, the club has secured lab space at the university's off-campus Emergent Technologies Institute and has the endorsement of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The students may not be entering the program with years of cancer research under their belts, but the founding faculty member, Dr. Lyndsay Rhodes, has enough experience for them all, having authored more than 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts in more than a decade of cancer research. Dr. Rhodes joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about the future of the program.

Also joining the show is the program's president, Nicole Mamprejew, who is a dual major in biology and psychology, and the vice president, Xylia Horgan, a fellow biology major.

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.