By Saj Sri-Kumar
Jeffrey Bu ’12 stood in an auditorium with nearly 50 medical students and doctors. Unlike many of them, however, Bu was not there to hear a presentation on two rare forms of cancer — he was there to give it.
Bu’s research into synovial sarcoma and acute promyelocytic leukemia started with a paper he wrote as part of an independent research project he started last year. Studying data he received from the National Cancer Institute, Bu applied statistical techniques to measure the number of diagnoses of the two diseases versus the age of the patient. With that information, he was able to calculate the number of mutations that the cancers have, a step that could help develop new treatments.
After Bu initially reached his conclusions, he compiled the data into a paper that he submitted to the Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition. Last year, he was chosen as a semifinalist in the research competition.
Bu later submitted an abstract from his paper to the American Federation for Medical Research. He received an offer to speak at their conference in Carmel, Calif., and also had his abstract printed in the federation’s publication, the Journal of Investigative Medicine.
A marked change from the paper he wrote earlier, Bu’s presentation entailed making a PowerPoint presentation for the live audience and fielding any questions that they asked. Bu said he enjoyed the chance to attend the conference.
“It gives you a chance to present your research rather than just submitting it for a competition,” he said. “Not only did I get to present, I also got to meet all these really, really, really smart people. I was a little nervous, but when I started talking it was okay.”
At the conference, Bu said he also learned about recent developments in the medical profession through other lectures, including possible forthcoming treatments utilizing stem cells.