Bayside grad works with top medical institution to research new ways to treat cancer

Photo via Shutterstock/Inset courtesy of Nishal Kayharee

A recent college graduate and Jamaica resident is helping to develop cancer treatments of the future.

In 2014, 20-year-old Nishal Kayharee moved from his native Guyana to Queens to live with family. The young man, who had previously attended technical school, was unsure about pursuing a college education, but was encouraged by his mother to take the next step.

This spring, Kayharee graduated from Bayside’s Queensborough Community College (QCC) with an associate’s degree in engineering technology.

“When I came over here I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do, but I was introduced to the engineering program at QCC, and I liked it a lot,” the student said.

Professor and mentor Michael Lawrence called the young man “an incredible self-starter.”

“He needs minimal direction,” Lawrence said of Kayharee’s dedication to research. “He just took off like a rocket.”

Most noteworthy was Kayharee’s work in the school’s newly constructed 2020 Advanced Manufacturing Lab. Using the lab’s 3-D printer and various software systems, the student created and printed an array of anatomical parts, including an eyeball, ribcage, prostate and pelvis, from MRI and CAT scan data.

The 3-D models, when applied to cancer treatment, can be used to plan for surgeries: prior to a procedure, surgeons could refer to the model to prepare for the surgery with the utmost precision.

In one case, Kayharee’s work was used for that purpose. Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center referred to the student’s model while doing pre-surgical planning on a patient who had a metastasized tumor in his pelvis.

Photo courtesy of QCC/3D pelvis
Photo courtesy of QCC/3D pelvis

This got the attention of the top medical institution, Lawrence explained. This month, Kayharee began a summer research internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

“Whenever I have time to go in and work on projects, I do,” the student said. “The experience has been great.”

Lawrence sees a bright future for Kayharee.

“He’s one of the most dependable students I’ve ever had,” the educator said. “He taught himself everything necessary to do what he’s accomplished in the 3-D printing space. He constantly takes initiative to learn new things.”

Kayharee will continue his studies at York College in the fall. He will major in computer science.