Keeping Up With Cancer Research — and Mustaches

Alumnus works to help patients get reliable diagnosis for treatment

Keeping Up With Cancer Research — and Mustaches

Biotechnology graduate Bradley Campagna, ’11, is one of many “Mo Bros” who have taken up the fight against cancer — along with sprouting a November mustache as part of the annual Movember Foundation campaign to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues.

Campagna, a cytogenetic technologist who delivers results to cancer patients, said most of his co-workers at Neogenomics Laboratories in Fort Myers participate in cancer-awareness initiatives, so they’re understanding of his temporary facial hair. In honor of breast-cancer awareness month in October, Campagna and his co-workers organized a potluck and donated the proceeds to breast-cancer research.

“It’s really relevant to my field of work, so I try to keep up with all initiatives,” he said. “Most people at work do it [too], so they are very understanding.”

Campagna spends his time in the processing lab at Neogenomics preparing samples for analysis and obtaining results from analyzing isolated white blood cells from blood or bone marrow.

“I get a much more sense of pride when I do the analysis because, regardless of the result, both a positive or negative result can be great,” he said. “A negative result means the patient is in remission and their treatment is working. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with a positive result because that means the doctor actually found the problem and the patient can now begin treatment.”

In addition to analyzing samples, Campagna particularly enjoys working in his field because of the knowledge he can provide to others.

“Not a whole lot of people know the way your body works on a molecular level, and to be able to educate people, even if it’s something small, is a great benefit,” he said. “[Biotechnology] isn’t something that a lot of people do, and not a lot of people know about it, and that’s what I find very interesting.”

Campagna was one of only 102 UCF biotechnology undergraduates in the class of 2011. After landing his first career job with Neogenomics, he acquired the licenses required to work in a clinical laboratory.

“The company has grown so much, and I’ve had every opportunity to grow with them. I’m thankful for that every day,” he said.

Analyzing Q&A 

Q. Favorite UCF class?

A. Every professor had a different way of teaching, which I liked because it reached out to all the different ways of learning. As for a favorite class, they were all tough, but I found one of the most interesting was molecular biotechnology. It was hard, but some of the things I learned were very, very interesting.

Q. Proudest moment?

A. I think my proudest moment would be back in January when I received a CARE award. Every quarter, our company gives out these awards to employees who have gone above and beyond, and they recognize that. It was really nice to be recognized for a lot of the extra work I had been doing.

Q. Most rewarding aspect of your job?

A. Definitely getting the results out. That’s the whole point of what we do. We’re very customer focused and patient focused. Being in an oncology lab, we may not actually meet the patients, but behind every sample there is a patient who’s sick and waiting for a test result, so it’s definitely really nice to help do that for them.

Q. Who inspires you?

A. Besides my family, everyone who supports me. My girlfriend supports me all the time, and she inspires me. Everybody who’s close to me has really helped me out, and I’ve needed every bit of it.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A. As a little kid I wanted to be a vet. I never saw myself getting into this when I was smaller.

Q. How do you hope your career will transition over the next five years?

A. I see myself with Neogenomics, and I definitely see myself in the medical field.

Q. Any hidden talents?

A. I’m pretty good at watersports. Before I started working full-time, I loved surfing and wakeboarding.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

A. I’d probably be a pilot. I think it’d be really cool.

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