Science Student Spotlight: Samantha Delaney

February 14, 2023

The Biochemistry Ph.D. student received a prestigious National Cancer Institute fellowship for her research on colorectal cancer tumors.

Samantha Delaney - Biochemistry student

Samantha Delaney, a fourth-year Biochemistry Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, received a prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Predoctoral Fellows (F31) from the National Cancer Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) to support her research on using metalloinsertor complexes for the delivery of positron-emitting and beta-emitting radionuclides to colorectal cancer tumors that lack the mismatch repair machinery required to correct mutations in genomic DNA. The award of more than $50,000 over two years will go towards her tuition and health insurance and will provide a stipend as well as funds for travel to scientific meetings. 

Delaney is a member of Professor Brian Zeglis’ (GC/Hunter, Biochemistry, Chemistry) lab. Her doctoral thesis work is in the fields of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, and she conducts a portion of her research in the laboratory of their collaborator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Jason Lewis. The Zeglis group focuses on the synthesis, in vitro validation, and in vivo evaluation of novel radiopharmaceuticals for cancer imaging and therapy. Specifically, Delaney focuses on bioconjugation strategies to attach chelators to antibodies, which then act as the delivery of radioactive payloads to tumor tissue. 

Learn More About the Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry

Delaney graduated with honors from Saint Michael’s College in 2019 with a B.S. in biochemistry and minors in French and religious studies. She was also inducted as a member of Sigma Xi. Her research career began at Saint Michael’s where she had the privilege of working with Professor Christina Chant of the chemistry department. Her research project focused on the expression and purification of proteins containing zinc-finger domains and the ability of these zinc-finger proteins to act as transcription factors in prostate cancer cells. In 2018, she was awarded the college’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Trustee Scholar Research Grant for this work. 

Growing up on Long Island, Delaney was exposed to the SUNY and CUNY education systems for the better part of her pre-collegiate academic career and has held them in high regard. After graduating from Saint Michael’s, she knew that she wanted to come home to New York for graduate school at a larger, research-driven institution, and recognized that the CUNY Graduate Center would be the perfect fit because of the broad range of research specializations, the collaboration among the numerous CUNY colleges, and the exceptional location in New York City. 

Now on her way to a Ph.D., Delaney sees herself pursuing a career in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

List of Awards, Presentation of Scientific Work, and Publications 

  • Hunter College of the City University of New York Rose K. Rose Award (December 2022) 
  • Maitz CA, Delaney S, Cook BE, Genady AR, Hoerres R, Kuchuk M, Makris G, Valliant JF, Sadeghi S, Lewis JS, Hennkens HM, Bryan JN, Zeglis BM. Pretargeted PET of Osteodestructive Lesions in Dogs. Mol Pharm2022; 19(9):3153-3162. 
  • Rodriguez C, Delaney S, Sarrett SM, Keinänen OM, Zeglis BM. Antibody Engineering for Nuclear Imaging and Radioimmunotherapy. J Nucl Med2022; 63(9):1316–22. 
  • Sarrett SM, Rodriguez C, Rymarczyk G, Hosny MM, Keinänen O, Delaney S, Thau S, Krantz BA, Zeglis BM. Lysine-Directed Site-Selective Bioconjugation for the Creation of Radioimmunoconjugates. Bioconjug Chem2022; (9):1750-1760.  
  • “Photoaffinity Labeling for the Production of 89Zr-Labeled Radioimmunoconjugates”; Oral Presentation, The Society for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences TERACHEM, Bressanone, Italy (September 2022) 
  • The Society for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences TERACHEM Young Investigator Travel Award (September 2022) 
  • Women in Molecular Imaging Network of the World Molecular Imaging Society Scholar Award (October 2021) 
  • “The Synthesis and In Vivo Validation of a Cadherin-17 Targeted Radioimmunoconjugate for the PET Imaging of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma”; Oral Presentation, World Molecular Imaging Congress, Miami, Florida, United States (Virtual; October 2021) 
  • World Molecular Imaging Congress Student Travel Stipend (October 2021) 
  • Hunter College of the City University of New York Helen S. Schectman Award (December 2020) 
  • “Analyzing the Binding of a Zinc Finger Protein to its Target DNA”; Poster, American Chemical Society Conference, Orlando, Florida, United States (March 2019)