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Kirsten Bryant, PhD, was recently recognized by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for her dual role in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Members of Team Der Lab, including Kirsten Bryant (front row, second from left) and Channing Der (back row, second from left), supported PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham on May 17, 2014.

An article published on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website commends Bryant’s leadership of Team Der Lab in the Raleigh-Durham PurpleStride 5K this past May. Bryant served as the team’s organizer, captain and top fundraiser. She ran the 5K event in memory of her father, Bernie Elzer Jr., who lost his life to pancreatic cancer in March 2013.

During her father’s illness, Bryant was pursuing a career in cancer research and completing her PhD at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Witnessing her father battle a disease with few treatment options lead Bryant to focus her career on pancreatic cancer research. Now she works to find answers to the disease in the lab of Channing Der, PhD, at UNC Lineberger.

Team Der Lab was the second-highest fundraising team for Raleigh-Durham PurpleStride this year, raising more than $13,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s signature 5K run/walk. (Another group from UNC Lineberger, Team UNC, was the highest fundraising team, with more than $16,000 raised.) Bryant was the second-highest individual fundraiser for the event, raising more than $11,600 in memory of her father.

Bryant learned about PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham from Der, professor of pharmacology at UNC Lineberger and a 2012 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Innovative Grant recipient. It was Der’s second year participating in PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham.