Motivated by the loss of her father from pancreatic cancer, Virginia Tech undergraduate and Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar Jessica Gannon has dedicated her studies to finding a cure for the disease. This profile in Virginia Tech Daily shares Gannon’s accomplishments as a mechanical engineering major, how she has continued her work from home during the pandemic, and what she hopes to achieve in the future.
One mission drives Jessica Gannon. She is focused on finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.
During her freshman year at Virginia Tech, Gannon's father passed away from the disease. As she prepares for her senior year as a Hokie, her father’s story continues to inspire her.
“It’s what gets me out of bed every morning,” said Gannon, a mechanical engineering major who is one of the university’s Beyond Boundaries Scholars.
She conducts research under Eli Vlaisavljevich, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech. His lab specializes in therapeutic-focused ultrasound and non-invasive therapies for cancer treatment and clinical applications.
In the past few months, as a result of COVID-19, Gannon has had to find new ways to continue her research with limited access to the Therapeutic Ultrasound and Noninvasive Therapies Laboratory on Stranger Street, which has been closed since mid-March. Her Blacksburg apartment serves as her lab, where she has been working on computer-aided design (CAD) projects for her ongoing research.
“While there is a pandemic happening, the reality is that cancer is still affecting many patients and families,” said Gannon, who is minoring in biomedical engineering.