Research Communications Office

The Markey Cancer Center’s Research Communications Office (RCO) was created to help cancer researchers secure grants and publish their findings.

The RCO staff is comprised of editors, designers, grant administrator, grant coordinators, and an educational coordinator. All RCO staff members are available to assist in the following areas for all cancer-related projects.



Check grammar, punctuation, sentence clarity, format (according to publisher specifications), submission of abstracts and journal articles.



Assist in proposal development, ensure adherence to RFA guidelines, budgeting, as well as editing and coordinating/compiling large, multicenter grants.

graphic design


Produce high-quality figures, informational graphics, illustrations, scientific posters, brochures and flyers for cancer-related events and announcements.



Develop and update web pages and content, disseminate information via the weekly Markey Minute newsletter and listserv, and collaborate on other internal communication needs. 

event planning


Coordination of Markey’s premier research-related events such as Markey Cancer Research Day, weekly seminars, Grand Rounds and patient-centered education.

Start your Project

Visit the Starting Your Project page for more information on how we can help you and to submit your project.
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Sample Projects

These samples can be helpful in providing a clear understanding of what to expect and how the RCO approaches a particular task or assignment. 

RCO StaffDanielle Story, Assistant Director of Research Administration
Danielle joined the Markey Cancer Center in 2015. She has a Bachelor of Arts and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. She has a strong background in marketing and communications, graphic design, branding, information graphics and project management. Danielle loves to travel and cheer on the Cats, as well as volunteer with various groups around Lexington. 

Amy Beisel, RCO Manager
Amy joined the Research Communications Office in the spring of 2022. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Stockton University and a Graduate Certification from The George Washington University. She comes from an 18-year career in museum administration including grant and project management. 

Cathy Anthony, Scientific Editor 
Cathy has been with the Markey Cancer Center since March 2012. She has a PhD in anatomy from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to UK, Cathy was actively engaged in cancer research at Vanderbilt and LSU Health Sciences Center. She has experience in writing, editing, graphic design, and project management. 

Marcia Ballard, Grants Administrator
Marcia has worked at UK since 1988, and most of those years have been in service to the Markey Cancer Center. She has a business administration degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a strong background in proposal development including budgeting, adherence to guidelines, preparation of non-scientific proposal sections and coordinating/compiling large multi-component projects. 

Jennifer Bybee, Program Coordinator
Jennifer has worked at UK since 2012 and joined the Research Communications Office in 2017. She earned her MBA from Marylhurst University and has a strong background in program development with experience in strategic planning, grant writing, contract management and more.  

Megan Eder, Grant Program Coordinator Senior
Megan joined the Markey Cancer Center in 2015 and joined the Research Communication Office in 2019. Megan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master’s of Public Financial Management from the University of Kentucky. She has a background in accounting, grants management, and clinical trials.

Donna Gilbreath, Designer/Editor 
Donna has worked at UK since 1985 and has been with the Markey Cancer Center since October 2009. She has an MA in geography and her interests include public health geography and cartography. Donna has expertise in mapping, information graphics and editing.  

Rachel Grace LeComte, Grant Program Coordinator
Rachel Grace joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Communications Office in 2022. She earned a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and previously worked in university housing, visa administration, community mental health crisis response, health data management, and as a movie theater usher.

Kristin Pratt, Data Coordinator
Kristin joined the Markey Cancer Center in 2022 after previously working in athletics communications, which included positions with the Detroit Tigers, Stockton Ports, North Carolina A&T State University athletics department and LEARFIELD. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism with a sports communication certificate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. She has 15 years of experience in communications, publications and project management.

Sandi Shepherd, Events Coordinator for Education and Research
Sandi joined the Markey Cancer Center in 2015 as administrative support in the Director's Office and was promoted to administrative support manager in 2019. In January 2023, she was named the events coordinator for education and research. In her new role, Sandi will oversee the weekly Markey Research Seminar series, as well as other educational conferences and events. Additionally, she is responsible for organizing the annual Markey Cancer Center Research Day. Sandi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Care Administration from Midway University and has served as a Senator on UK's Staff Senate for the past three years.

Phillip Strunk, Website Editor
Phillip joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Communications Office in 2021 after previously working for the National Tour Association. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky and has more than 15 years of experience in content management, marketing, and communications. 

Lauren Tecau, Designer/Editor
Lauren has worked at UK since 2019 and joined the Markey Cancer Center in the spring of 2022. She is an alumna of Morehead State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and double majored in art. She loves to create botanical and anatomical illustrations and has worked in graphic design in the nonprofit setting since 2016. Fun fact: if you are an alum of UK, you may be familiar with one of her favorite illustration projects she created—Flat Wildcat!

The RCO offices are located on the 4th floor of the Ben F. Roach Cancer Care Facility at 750 Rose Street, Lexington KY 40536.

Contact the office via email at, or contact any staff member individually. 

Use the links below to search for funding opportunities from national institutions and philanthropic sources. You may also sign up for alerts through the UK Proposal Development Office.

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Thank you for using the Research Communications Office to help complete your latest project. Please take a minute to provide us with feedback about making our office and capabilities better by completing this survey.

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 56 in the nation.