What: Seton Hill University alumna Elizabeth Repasky, Ph.D. will discuss her recent groundbreaking cancer research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America during a lecture hosted by the University’s Biology Club.

When: Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5 p.m.

Where: Reeves Theatre, Seton Hill University’s main hilltop campus, Greensburg, Pa.

Who: Elizabeth Repasky, a 1976 graduate of Seton Hill with a degree in biology, is the Dr. William Huebsch Professor of Immunology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and is co-leader of the Institute’s Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies CCSG Program. She earned a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology at the State University at Buffalo and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cell/Molecular Biology at the California Institute of Technology. In 1996, Repasky received the Seton Hill Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award.

Background: Repasky and her research team at Roswell Park Cancer Institute recently published research into how temperature can influence the growth of tumors in laboratory mice. Repasky’s research deals with how the standard cool temperature at which laboratory mice are housed in most research facilities might skew the results of cancer immunology studies.

The study indicates that mice naturally seek warm nesting environments to minimize their energy expenditure and healthy mice are known to prefer ambient temperatures of 30 to 31 °C, but laboratory mice are typically housed within a temperature range of 20 to 26 °C.

The authors reported that four different kinds of transplanted tumors grew slower in mice housed at 30 °C than in mice housed at 22 °C, even though both groups of mice maintained normal body temperature. Anti-tumor immunity was stronger at 30 °C. Because cold stress can divert energy toward heat production and suppress anti-cancer immune responses, ambient temperature might influence the response of laboratory mice to experimental cancer immunotherapy, the study suggests.