The Black Lab at the Markey Cancer Center

Markey Cancer Center pic
Markey Cancer Center

After earning a PharmD at the University of North Carolina and a PhD in pharmaceutical science at the University of Kentucky, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai wanted to put his pharmacy expertise to use in serving diverse patient populations. In 2014, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai joined the Markey Cancer Center as an oncology pharmacist to research improvements in treatment for lung cancer.

The Markey Cancer Center, founded in 1983 at the University of Kentucky, operates in affiliation with the College of Medicine and the College of Pharmacy. Striving to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer, Markey provides multidisciplinary clinical care for patients and conducts comprehensive research on ways to prevent, detect, and treat various cancers. Markey is the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Institute of Cancer and one of only a few across the country.

One particular area of research is on cancer cell biology and signaling and another on drug discovery, delivery, and translational therapeutics. Along those lines, the Black Lab was established in 2004 to examine gene expression and how control of gene expression in individual patients affects the ways in which they respond to different treatments. After analyzing patient responses, researchers in the Black Lab then conduct experiments to test and improve therapies.


Military Tribunals Scheduled for Egyptian Insurgents

Born to Egyptian parents and raised in Egypt during his early childhood, Dr. Sherif Mohamed El-Refai has remained an advocate for civil rights and the end to injustice by the Egyptian government. While working toward his doctor of pharmacy at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Sherif Mohamed El-Refai participated in public demonstrations of support for democracy in Egypt.

On December 13, 2014, Egyptian government officials sent 439 individuals to military tribunals in response to alleged acts of violence. The proceedings stem from actions that these individuals supposedly took in October of 2013, when Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi announced that any attacks against state property would lead to a military trial. At the time, government facilities had been under attack in response to the removal of former President Muhammad Mursi from power.

Insurgents claim that their actions against police officers are in response to a targeting of President Mursi’s supporters. Opposition to this alleged retaliation has included the killing of several policemen. Accused perpetrators will appear before military courts, which the Human Rights Watch has criticized for a lack of due process for defendants.