Taking the long road

“I loved the idea of discovering something that no one had ever seen before. For someone like me, that was alien. What they were doing in the lab was magic. I came from a place where that literally did not exist.”

In the department of cell biology and physiology at the UNC School of Medicine, Patrick Lang completed his doctoral research on medulloblastoma, the most common childhood brain cancer. Lang’s work focused on the development of a therapeutic targeting a specific protein found in these tumors, treating the cancer and avoiding the harsh side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

That kind of work was unimaginable when he was a child growing up in the Heilongjiang Province, located in the mountains of Northern China where he lived without electricity, paved roads or running water.

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Lang’s research has taken him around the world, including the l’Institut Pasteur de Lille in France for 10 months of research, funded by a Core Fulbright Scholar award. Lang is the first awardee from the UNC School of Medicine since 2010.

This is story number 168 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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