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.