Men’s Basketball Star Peter Hooley Featured in Colon Cancer PSA

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 7, 2016) – University at Albany men’s basketball star Peter Hooley was featured over the weekend in a locally-aired public service announcement (PSA) for colon cancer prevention month. The PSA is a joint collaboration between UAlbany, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the American Cancer Society.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. By getting screened beginning at age 50, the disease is highly preventable.

Hooley, a redshirt senior from Adelaide, Australia, lost his mother, Sue, to colon cancer on Jan. 30, 2015. The PSA, which ran multiple times on CBS and the American Sports Network, tells Hooley’s story, and stresses the importance of colon cancer screenings.

During the 2015 regular season, Hooley missed eight games to be home with his mother. Great Danes’ fans rallied around him, raising nearly $12,000 for the Cancer Council of South Australia.

Hooley, a redshirt senior from Adelaide, Australia, lost his mother, Sue, to colon cancer on Jan. 30, 2015.

Upon returning to the court, Hooley made arguably the most memorable shot in UAlbany basketball history. With just two seconds remaining in the America East Championship game, Hooley sunk a 3-pointer to lift the Great Danes to a 51-50 victory over Stony Brook. It was the team’s third consecutive conference championship.

The play became the major college basketball story of "Championship Weekend," as Hooley found himself conducting interviews for ESPN and writing an article for The New York Post. Hooley dedicated the season to his mother.

In addition to Hooley’s PSA, UAlbany hosts a Cancer Research Center within its School of Public Health. Faculty experts in the cancer arena include:

  • Douglas Conklin, associate professor of biomedical sciences: Conklin and his group use high-throughput gene function studies to identify new genes important to human cancer cells. Dr. Conklin is a developer of an RNA-based technology that has revolutionized genetic studies in mouse and human cells.
  • Jason Herschkowitz, assistant professor of biomedical sciences: Herschkowitz works with long non-coding RNAs to develop a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate breast cancer stem cells -- critical for devising new treatments that selectively target these aggressive and therapy-resistant cancer cells.
  • Roxana Moslehi, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics: Moslehi is an expert in genetic epidemiology as well as cancer epidemiology and genetics.
  • Ramune Reliene, assistant professor of environmental health sciences: Reliene studies the role of DNA repair genes and environmental agents in cancer etiology and the role of antioxidant-rich foods and nutrients in cancer prevention.
  • Feng (Johnson) Qian, assistant professor, health policy, management and behavior: Qian investigates the feasibility and value of using “big data” for population-based hypertension control and examines patient navigation program for colorectal cancer screening in underserved Chinese American communities.
  • Martin Tenniswood, director of the Cancer Research Center and Empire Innovations Professor of biomedical sciences: The Tenniswood lab specializes in developing therapies for hard-to-treat hormone dependent cancers, particularly castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and triple negative breast cancers.
  • JoEllen Welsh, Empire Innovations Professor of environmental health sciences: Welsh studies nuclear receptors in health and disease. The Welsh lab has particular expertise in studying the role of dietary-derived ligands for nuclear receptors in cancer prevention and therapy.

Learn more about Colon Cancer Awareness Month from the Colon Cancer Alliance. Also view an interview with Peter Hooley by NYSDOH.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.