Research Highlight: Savannah Faith Clark & Christian Sanchez

by Kristal Mainsah on February 27, 2020

Savannah Faith Clark and Christian Sanchez are current juniors at Roanoke College. They had the opportunity to present their research at the Virginia Academy of Science Undergrad Meeting. I asked them questions to get an insight of their experience presenting and what conducting research at Roanoke College is like.


Can you describe what your research project is about?

The purpose of this study is to examine strength, muscle power, and range of motion in the affected arm (arm where breast cancer was present) compared to the unaffected arm in breast cancer survivors. Since breast cancer treatment results in impaired upper body function, more research is needed to examine the extent of losses in the affected arm compared to the unaffected arm. In addition, we plan to examine individual arm strength, muscle power, and range of motion in the upper body of breast cancer survivors compared to women who have not had breast cancer.

What made you decide to pursue your topic?

This project is an extension of research that our adviser, Dr. Ashley Artese, has previously done where she found that body fat and bone mineral density were lower in the affected arm compared to the unaffected arm of breast cancer survivors. Therefore, we are interested in how these body composition and bone deficits can impact strength, muscle power, and range of motion.

Talk about the conference experience?

After submitting a research proposal to the Virginia Academy of Science in October, we presented our proposal at a poster session at the Virginia Academy of Science Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting. The competition consisted of 40 undergraduate posters from other colleges in Virginia. Each poster was presented to three judges who evaluated the written proposal and our oral presentation. We were the top nine posters that were awarded a $750.00 research grant. We will present the results of this project at the Annual Spring Meeting.

Why would someone be interested in presenting your findings at a conference?

Findings from this study will provide a better understanding of long-term side effects of treatment on strength, muscle power, and range of motion in affected and unaffected arms in breast cancer survivors and how those outcomes compare to women who have not had cancer. Results may impact how healthcare providers use exercise as an additive during and after treatment to prevent potential losses in functional outcomes in the upper body.

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