Undergraduate Student Mentored in Georgetown Lombardi Lab Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2014) — A Georgetown University undergraduate student conducting research on one of the most common and devastating childhood brain tumors has received a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

Sarah Waye, a rising senior, was honored for her research on medulloblastoma, a tumor that develops most often in children. She conducts her research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in the laboratory of her mentor, Christopher Albanese, PhD, a professor of oncology and pathology.

Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry Goldwater, who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. The scholarships recognize undergraduate scientists, engineers and mathematicians who plan to pursue a career in research upon graduation.

Medulloblastoma is a cancer that arises from stem-like brain precursor cells that fail to develop into a designated function (blood, eye, heart etc.). Waye says after completing her undergraduate work, she plans to extend her research by crossing into the field of stem cell and regenerative biology.

“I think that stem cell research is really the key to the future of medicine,” Waye says.  Researchers say adult stems cells can be controlled in the laboratory and could potentially be used to repair damaged tissue.  “My specific hope for the future of stem cell research is that it can be used to do what was previously thought impossible, which is to fix the brain and nervous system,” she adds.

Albanese describes Waye as fearless in her research, an excellent teacher and mentor and an extraordinarily proficient public speaker.

“As she enters her senior year in my lab, Sarah will be completing the experiments that will ultimately lead to at least two first-authored papers,” he says. “These papers, along with co-authored manuscripts with other members of my group and her stellar academic credentials, will certainly be testimonials to her dedication to research.”

Waye says, “Winning a Goldwater has helped not only to motivate me to continue my research, but also to confirm that I’m on a path that I have a passion and skill for.”

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.