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M.D./Ph.D. Student Justin Drerup Wins Peer Award

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Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Around Campus | Of Interest | Cancer Biology | March 10, 2015

M.D./Ph.D. student Justin Drerup was voted as “best talk” by his peers at this weekend’s 6th Annual M.D./Ph.D. Student Retreat.

“I never win anything and I’ve actually never won anything for my research before and I’m finally getting to the point where I’m able to do that so that’s pretty fun,” Drerup said.

The annual retreat is an opportunity for all the students to get together from the M.D./ Ph.D. program at the different levels to present their research.

He explained that the newer students usually make posters and the more senior students like himself will give 15 minute presentations in front of the audience.

Drerup’s talk “Regulatory T-Cell Depletion by Anti-CD25 Antibodies Promotes T-Cell Cytotoxicity and Survival in Ovarian Cancer Model” was about his research.

“Our lab focuses on drugs that are already out there and in clinical use and trying to repurpose them as cancer therapy agents,” Drerup said. “The drug that I’m using is used to prevent kidney transplant rejection and I’m actually testing it to treat ovarian cancer. It was actually an unexpected finding because this drug is used to suppress the immune system and the way that I’m using it is to stimulate the immune system.”

The audience of this year’s M.D./Ph.D. Student Retreat included students, faculty, department chairs, and also a group of accepted students who are thinking about coming to the school to join the program.

“It’s always exciting to see the students get together because we are all scattered around," he said. “Some are medical students for the first two years, some are in graduate school, and some of us are working in the later years of the program so when we do have everyone together, it’s a really great group and all of us are really into the research so we’re all really excited to present what we have.”

Drerup said that one of the best parts of the retreats is mentoring newer students.

“For me, I’m about half way through the program and I’m considered a senior student now so what I really like to do is meet with the earlier year students and letting them know who I am and giving them pointers about things that I’ve learned through the process to make their lives easier.”

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