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Zhang among 2019 Undergraduate Student Pelotonia Fellows

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) student Mia Zhang is named among the list of 2019 Undergraduate Student Pelotonia Fellows working to cure cancer at The Ohio State University

As a winner, Zhang earns a one-year research fellowship to pursue her project, “Understanding the Biological Basis of Alternating Electric Field Therapy on Breast Cancer Cells,” looking into the effect of extrinsically applied alternating fields (EFs) on a molecule that plays a critical role in the process of metastasis in triple negative breast cancer. 

Zhang is mentored by Ohio State Assistant Professor Jonathan Song, from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering departments.

Zhang said her research work is important in the hopes “to advance our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms of alternating EF therapy, also known as tumor treating fields, which is an emerging noninvasive treatment modality in oncology.”

According to the Undergraduate Student Pelotonia Fellowship program, cancer is a complex disease, and curing it takes a multidisciplinary effort. No matter what their field of study, from traditional scientific fields, or fields like engineering, history and business, all Ohio State undergraduate students may apply.

The fellowship was founded to help students contribute to the field of cancer research by providing the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in this critical field. Most students have financial responsibilities and are not able to volunteer as research assistants in cancer research labs. For that reason, undergraduate fellows are paid a $12,000 annual stipend to work on their independent research projects. 

Zhang is also serving as a 2019 Pelotonia Virtual rider to help raise funds through Oct. 4.

“All the money raised through Pelotonia goes toward life-saving cancer research, including my research project,” Zhang said. “Any amount of donation will be appreciated.”

To date, 244 Pelotonia Undergraduate Student Fellows have been funded. These students have very diverse majors and they work on varied projects investigating how different therapeutic agents improve natural killer cells’ ability to kill tumor cells, and measuring how social support may help improve the quality of lives of cancer survivors and their families.
Each year, approximately 80 undergraduate applications are submitted. Each application is critically reviewed by members of the Pelotonia Fellowship Committee. Because of the prestigious nature of these awards, many students have reported that receiving a fellowship has distinguished them from their peers when applying to and being accepted into medical school or PhD programs.

To contribute to Zhang’s Pelotonia Virtual Rider fund: