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Local cancer researcher visits Hughesville High School

By Staff | Nov 6, 2012

Justin Arthur, an alumni from Hughesville High School, works with biology students to study cancer cells.

HUGHESVILLE – Justin Arthur, who graduated from Hughesville High School in 2006, returned to his former high school in October to volunteer his time instructing students in Mrs. Shaner’s and Mr. Toohey’s various biology classes. The classes spent three days learning the historical background of the research, preparing and observing cancer cells. The cells had been treated with a known carcinogen and allowed to mutate under controlled conditions. After growing for several days the cells’ growth was frozen during cell division using a specialized form of colchicine. The prepared cells were then brought from North Carolina, to the students who were then able to smash the cells and observe the unusual number of chromosomes.

Mr. Arthur, a Research Specialist at the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, NC, specializes in experimental tumor pathology. His expertise in the field of virology and oncology made this an exciting and unique opportunity for the local students according to Jim Toohey.

Mr. Toohey also noted that “this is just one of the school’s former science students who is still interacting with faculty to bring a diverse experience to the students at Hughesvillle High School. “We are very fortunate to have such a motivated group of alumni who are eager to come back and share their knowledge,” added Toohey.

Other examples in the last year have included Biomedical Engineering students from Bucknell and the University of Pittsburgh and an engineering student from Stanford, who have returned to the school for discussions of their research or to discuss careers and college experiences.

Future experiences for the Science department at the High School that have been planned will include a visit from a chemist from Bucknell University in December who will discuss her student research and demonstrate some of her chemistry findings.