UT Tyler Hosts Junior Researchers from Belgium University
Research conducted addresses breast cancer treatments, crayfish conservation
TYLER (April 6, 2023) – The University of Texas at Tyler is hosting two junior researchers from Howest University of Applied Sciences in Belgium. Research conducted within the UT Tyler College of Arts and Sciences through Howest’s three-year Traineeship and Bachelor Project Program will potentially enhance breast cancer treatments and crayfish conversation efforts.
“Our college is delighted to be in this partnership with Howest and host these bright students from their institution,” said Dr. Neil Gray, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are so proud and look forward to their collaborations with our faculty mentors.”
Senior-level researcher Aïscha Swinnen is conducting experiments to develop new molecules that can potentially be used to image cancer stem cells, or CSCs, in breast cancer patients via Magnetic Resonance Imagining or Positron Emission Tomography. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Jiyong Lee, UT Tyler assistant professor of biochemistry.
“We are focusing on breast cancer, especially hard-to-treat types, such as triple-negative breast cancer,” said Lee. “Our objective is to understand how CSCs are associated with tumor relapse. This research, if successful, will lead us to understand how these stem-like cancer cells cause tumor relapse and ultimately to develop more effective drugs that block tumor relapse.”
Senior-level researcher Jana Swimberghe is using genetic data to determine if two subspecies of Louisiana crayfish should be elevated to unique species. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Matthew Greenwold, UT Tyler assistant professor of biology. “Our aim is to determine if conservation efforts need to be altered for these potential species,” said Greenwold. “This research will impact conservation efforts in Louisiana.”
Swimberghe is the niece of UT Tyler Soules College of Business dean, Dr. Krist Swimberghe.
Opportunities for international students like this one are available through partnerships with the UT Tyler Office of International Programs, which help institutions worldwide connect with the university while promoting international collaborations.
“This has been amazing to our students as well as they are getting an opportunity to experience international/global collaborative research efforts and learn how having diverse perspectives is important in making progresses in research,” Lee added.
Swinnen and Swimberghe will conclude their visit in June.
Howest University of Applied Sciences is an innovative, higher-education institution based in Belgium that aims to nurture the next generation of passionate and highly skilled professionals. Howest is internationally acclaimed for its programs in digital design, cybersecurity and digital arts and entertainment. The school also offers a wide range of degrees in areas like business, health care and education.
With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to 10,000 students. UT Tyler recently merged with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (now known as UT Tyler Health Science Center). Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center (HSC) and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.