Wheeling Jesuit University

Alumni, Students & Professors Combine to Combat Cancer

Wheeling Jesuit University alumni, professors and students are playing a role in cancer research at the Schiffler Cancer Research Center and the newly established Urologic Research Institute, both located at Wheeling Hospital.

The University established a concentration in dosimetry and medical physics for physics majors. The concentration will include two courses taught by the Wheeling Hospital staff--one at Wheeling hospital and one at the campus.

“As one of the nation’s leading cancer researchers, Dr. Gregory S. Merrick draws patients from 29 states and 10 foreign countries seeking his counsel and recommendations for treating prostate cancer. Our students simply walk across the lab floor to tap this expertise,” says Dr. Peter Ehni, chair of WJU’s Department of Physics.

The newly established Urologic Research Institute is a joint initiative among WJU, the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, and the Schiffler Cancer Research Center. Urologic Research Institute focuses on innovative research methods directed toward the effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer and other urologic disorders.

Several WJU professors and alumni are research associates at the Institute, including Dr. Jonathan Lief of WJU’s Department of Biology, and Dr. Robert W. Galbreath, adjunct professor of physical therapy. Zachariah Allen, who received a B.S. in chemistry and physics from WJU in 1996, is a research associate at the Institute. Dr. Gregory S. Merrick, affiliate associate professor of physics at WJU, serves as the Institute’s Executive Director and Director of the Schiffler Cancer Research Center.

“We are one of only a handful of schools in the United States to offer a concentration in dosimetry and medical physics so our students gain firsthand access to experts in the field. By capitalizing on one-on-one research opportunities with professors—a hallmark of Wheeling Jesuit—students in this lab may one day change how doctors around the world treat cancer,” says Ehni.

Physics major Tony Mazza, ’06, conducted research within the Institute and Center. Other alumni who worked within the Schiffler Cancer Center include Locksley Todd, ’05, Adam DeMary, '05, Megan Beekman '05, Jacqueline Usher '05, and Andrew Fitzwater '04.

University President Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., joined with U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, Dr. Merrick, and Joseph Allen of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation for the announcement of the Institute’s formation on March 6 at Wheeling Hospital.

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