Helping to Change the Landscape of Cancer Care
As a coordinator for clinical trials at Duke Cancer Institute, Marco Reyes ’10 sees “the good in humanity” as patients participate in trials that may one day benefit people they’ll never know.
Q — What have you been up to since graduating from Durham Academy?
A — After graduating from Durham Academy, I attended High Point University, where I studied biology. While at HPU, I worked in Residence Life and I was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. I knew that I wanted to work in health care, however, I did not have a set path. Ironically, it was a literature class that set me on a path toward clinical research.
After graduating from HPU, I worked as a patient service associate at Harris & Smith OB-GYN. While at Harris & Smith, I took on the role of social media manager. I grew the clinic’s social media following by more than 200% in one calendar year and established a strong social media following for the clinic. Working at an OB-GYN also sparked an interest in women’s health and reproductive rights.
Q — What are you doing now?
A — In 2016, I began working with the genitourinary oncology research team at the Duke Cancer Institute, where I work as a clinical research coordinator. I have had the pleasure of working with world-class physicians and researchers in the field. I am a lead coordinator in clinical trials, such as an international registry for prostate cancer patients. Another study that I am the lead on is exploring tumor cell biomarkers and characterizing the microbiome of patients with kidney and bladder cancer. Most recently, I have been working on studies that explore the effects that exercise can have on patients who are receiving treatment for kidney cancer. I am immensely proud to be a part of such a dedicated group of researchers that work hard to change the landscape of cancer care at a global level.
Q — Why do you do what you do?
A — In short, I want to make the world a better place for at least one person. As a researcher, I have the ability to do that. My job is to help the principal investigators put their plans into action every day. As a coordinator, I also have the privilege of interacting with patients and I have the honor of being a part of their journey. When a patient agrees to participate in one of my trials, I see the good in humanity. I admire their selflessness and their courage because they understand that their participation in clinical trials will benefit patients that they may never meet. The patients are the reason why I do what I do.
Q — What DA experiences influenced you or helped you get where you are today?
A — Durham Academy taught me to think globally while acting locally. In the classrooms, my teachers taught us about the effects that our actions have on the world. DA also introduced me to the idea of service-learning by giving us several opportunities to do community service. Durham Academy taught me the importance of giving back to the community.
Q — What are your interests away from work?
A — Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I am a fanatic of the Carolina Hurricanes. I am an avid movie watcher, and I enjoy going to the gym. I also enjoy volunteering, most recently at Durham Nativity School, where I serve as the chair of the Young Professionals Board. Additionally, I will sit on the Board of Trustees at Durham Nativity School for the upcoming school year.
Q — What’s on the horizon for you?
A — As the Young Professionals Board chair at Durham Nativity School, I will be busy planning events to raise funds for the school by engaging a new demographic of donors. The mission of Durham Nativity School is to educate tomorrow’s community leaders. My path through DNS led me to Durham Academy, and I hope to afford that opportunity to other young men. I also plan to go back to school to continue growing intellectually so that I may better serve my community.