A is for Asher…Gena Asher, Consumer Advocate, that is. COVID required we pivot our goals temporarily from events and allowed us to focus on some projects that are just as important. Gena, one of our KTB Consumer Advocates, possesses formidable journalistic skills and has already proven herself invaluable by applying them to summarizing complex published manuscripts of projects involving our precious KTB samples. This allows the lay person to better understand what research has been conducted. Once these summaries are completed, they will be available on our website.


B is for Baby! Our Event and Regulatory Coordinator, Julia von Arx, and her husband, John, welcomed a healthy baby boy in October. The silver lining of the COVID-19 shutdown is that she was able to take a break from coordinating one of our twice yearly tissue collection events, giving her the time she needed as a new mom to focus on her family.


C is for the COVID-19 vaccine…one of the keys to the KTB restarting our tissue collection events and going back to business as usual. The KTB understands the deep importance of educating minorities about clinical trials and why research and the research community are to be trusted. We realize that as a result of past medical research transgressions and abuses, racialized populations have good reason to avoid clinical trials and vaccines. Led by our Minority Recruitment Outreach Coordinator, the KTB is dedicated to protecting our donors and doing our part to prevent the exploitation of underserved populations in research. Once the vaccine is completely rolled out, we will be following IU and IU Health guidelines to restart our collection events. To learn more about the historical roots of skepticism towards vaccines, check out this article from NPR. Two other NPR articles break it down further to focus on racialized populations. You can read those here and here.


ONE: Kamryn Benscoter is a senior and is finishing her time as an intern with us at the KTB. We are so proud of Kamryn, who was featured for her work at the KTB by the Office of Student Employment. Kamryn handles her many responsibilities with professionalism and poise. This summer, she continued to work with Kathi Ridley-Merriweather to draft a manuscript with the research question: How has the Komen Tissue Bank impacted breast cancer research? This manuscript is especially important because it summarizes the uniqueness and necessity of the Komen Tissue Bank for scientific researchers. The work highlights the evolution of the KTB and many of the scientific discoveries that were made possible from the KTB tissue samples. 


TWO: Another one of our fabulous interns, Megan Wurth, started at the KTB in February 2020 and experienced only a few weeks in the office with us before to adapting to a virtual experience. She became a part of the social media team and was an important asset during our KTB focus group in October. The in-person focus group had to be reimagined as a virtual event, and Megan was able to help find unique ways to create the same interactive activities online. She also is leading the Mammogram Project, so that the KTB can provide de-identified mammograms of our donors to researchers.      


THREE: Gabby Zamarripa is with the Life Health Science Intern (LHSI) program and has been 100% virtual since she started in the fall of 2020. One of her responsibilities is calculating Tyrer Cuzick scores, which is a model that helps estimates the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer. Gabby is also working with the social media team and learning the Mammogram Project.