RIT/NTID student focuses research on fighting breast tumors

Gigi Zheng is studying radiation activity from ionic sources

RIT/NTID student Gigi Zheng is studying how radiation from ionic sources such as hydrogen, helium and carbon are impacting breast tumors. Zheng’s research will be showcased during RIT’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Based on her interest in radiation therapy, student Gigi Zheng is generating research into the use of heavy ions in breast cancer therapy. Zheng, a third-year laboratory science technology major from New York City, will share her research at this year’s RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium during a pre-recorded presentation.

Read more

RIT will showcase a variety of research projects undertaken by students and faculty-mentors over the 2020-21 academic year during the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, held virtually July 29 through Aug. 4. Read more about the symposium.

Along with her faculty mentor, NTID Visiting Assistant Professor Nnaemeka Nnamani, Zheng is using a simulation code called SRIM to compare the radiation doses from hydrogen, helium, carbon, and oxygen to determine which of these delivers the most lethal dose to the tumor within a given time frame, thereby killing the tumor.

Her goal for the project is to fully understand how radiation therapy works in humans and learn its risks and benefits. The end result is to equip herself with practical experience in radiology for further studies.

Nnamani is pleased with the progress that Zheng has made and has enjoyed his time as her research mentor.

“Working with undergraduate students on research has been a great experience,” said Nnamani. “I am always pleased by their desire to learn and dedication to whatever duty they are given. As a faculty mentor, guiding undergraduate students in research is so important to me not just because it is part of my job expectations, but because it is an avenue to encourage deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students in STEM fields to continue to graduate school.”

Added Zheng: “I have never had an experience conducting research during my undergraduate years. This is my first experience conducting research, and it was really a worthy opportunity for me to take it. My faculty mentor, Dr. Nnamani, is very helpful and knowledgeable about my struggles and is always willing to help me out during his free time. We often meet on Zoom to work through any problems that I have, and always answers all of my questions. He is a terrific mentor.”