For Immediate Release — Monday, April 3, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo student named Goldwater Scholar; second student receives honorable mention

GENESEO, N.Y. — State University of New York at Geneseo student Jessica L. Gucwa has been named a recipient of the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for her achievements and potential in the fields of science. In addition, Geneseo student Laura C. Titus has been named an honorable mention.

Gucwa was among 323 undergraduate sophomores and juniors selected from a pool of 1,081 nominees throughout the United States. The Goldwater scholarships recognize academic achievement in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.

Gucwa is the 14th Geneseo student since 1992 to be named a Goldwater Scholar. The scholarships, announced in March, are for the 2006-07 school year. Gucwa will receive a one-year scholarship totaling $7,500, to be applied toward tuition, fees, books, room and board.

A 20-year-old junior biochemistry major from Tonawanda, N.Y., Gucwa plans to receive her Ph.D. in immunology and pursue a career in cancer research, focusing on the development of improved biological therapies and immunotherapies.

She served as an immunology research apprentice at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, which influenced her career decision.

"Working with others in such a positive and motivated environment has led me to believe that my future lies in cancer research," said Gucwa. "Their devotion to and faith in finding better anti-cancer therapies is inspiring."

Gucwa conducts research at Geneseo with Associate Professor of Chemistry Wendy Pogozelski, and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology Robert O'Donnell in a project on the induction of the Common Mitochondrial Deletion by ionizing radiation.

Gucwa also is a member of the college's women's swim team. She swims butterfly, IM and breaststroke events.

Last summer, Gucwa worked at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in a pre-clinical research project dealing with targeting the epidermal growth factor (EGFR) with Tarceva (erlotinib-HCl) for the potential treatment of pancreatic cancer. She also began working on her project: targeting EGFR in pancreatic cancer with Tarceva and mild thermal stress in vitro. She will be returning to Roswell this summer as part of its Summer Research Program, a fellowship funded by the National Science Foundation.

She is the daughter of William and Janice Gucwa.

Titus, a junior biology major, plans to receive her Ph.D. in genetics and pursue a career in the clinical environment, working to identify specific molecular targets that are abnormal in disease causing agents/hereditary diseases, especially the molecular targets of cancer.

The 21-year-old from Wyoming, N.Y., also minors in chemistry. She conducts research at Geneseo with O'Donnell in a cancer biology laboratory, where they evaluate new drug therapies for breast cancer. She also has received advisement and support from Pogozelski and Associate Professor of Biology Janice Lovett.

Titus said she was introduced to basic research in her sophomore year.

"As I progressed through courses and research experiences, I developed a strong interest in cancer genetics and the development of improved diagnostic and treatment options," said Titus.

Titus tutors students in genetics and teaches freshman biology lab. She also volunteers for Planned Parenthood in Rochester, participates in soccer intramurals and performs in the college's Orchesis Dance Club. In addition, she works as a server at a restaurant in the village.

Last summer, Titus continued her research project with funding from the Undergraduate Summer Fellowship provided by the Geneseo Foundation. This summer, she will attend Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program in Bar Harbor, Maine. The laboratory is a designated "cancer center" by the National Cancer Institute and its mission is to improve the quality of human life through genetic research and education.

Titus is the daughter of John and Chris Titus.

"Laura represents what is best about Geneseo students: she is a genuinely nice person and has both a passion for learning and research," said O'Donnell. "She is an exceptional student and careful researcher. I have been very fortunate to have her as a student and researcher in my laboratory. Her recognition is well deserved."

Pogozelski said "both women are bright and hard-working students who are a delight to work with.

"Jessica absorbs nearly every detail and nuance of what she encounters and does careful and detailed experiments. She is obtaining great results with her research. Laura lights up any class she's in with her enthusiasm for learning," said Pogozelski. "Both students have distinguished themselves here at Geneseo and have a bright future ahead of them."