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Mark Brisco

Bruce Shiramizu before (left) and after (right) haircut.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student Mark Brisco will be working this summer to devise a better way to diagnose cancer in children. But first he will get an extreme haircut.

Brisco, who is studying biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2018 St. Baldrick’s Summer Fellowship Award, which will allow him to take part in pediatric cancer research at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). His mentor will be JABSOM‘s Bruce Shiramizu, pediatrician and researcher.

And that’s where the haircut comes in.

Shiramizu is a proud supporter of the annual Shave-Off fundraising event orchestrated by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight childhood cancer. Along with Shiramizu and thousands of other people around the country, Brisco will be introducing his thick locks of hair to a razor.

The Shave-Off is a festive event, leaving the fundraisers with shiny bald pates and, for a few weeks at least, recognizable proof that they support the cause.

The 2018 St. Baldrick’s Foundation event in Honolulu is set for April 22. Shiramizu’s Laboratory Team, “Shaven Things,” is seeking donations through its website.

Brisco said he is thrilled with the research opportunity that awaits him during his summer fellowship in Shiramizu’s lab.

“To give children a fair chance at life for the first time in their lives is a truly unique and momentous opportunity,” he said. “This experience will not only alter my life course, but I hope can alter the life courses of many others through the findings of this research.”

An aspiring medical student, Brisco said his research will center on cancer cell recognition inside the human body, where he hopes to discover a better technique for recognizing and diagnosing cancer in children.

Read the full story on the JABSOM website.

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