Jessica Magill

Jessica MagillSearching for a Cure

After cancer struck Jessica Magill’s family, she got a chance to fight back

It’s rare that an undergraduate student would have the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking cancer research, but thanks to a $39,500 grant by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Foundation and matching funds from George Fox that pushed the total to $47,000, Jessica Magill got to do just that.

Magill, a senior cell/molecular biology major and a Richter Scholar recipient, is part of a four-student research team in the midst of a two-year project called “Vitamin D Regulation in Breast Cancer Cells.” Under the watchful eye of biology professor John Schmitt, the students are testing the hormone vitamin D to determine if it can slow down or stop the growth of cancerous cells.

The contributed funds will finance equipment that can be used by future students and also open the door for more grants down the road. But for Magill, whose brother recently underwent treatment for cancer, the donations mean an opportunity to go on the offensive in what had become a very personal battle.  

“When I found out Dr. Schmitt was doing cancer research, it was just, everything fit,” she says. “This opportunity is incredible.”