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Students Publish on Effects of Kumquat Essential Oil on Cancer Cells

Independent undergraduate research performed by Subah Soni ’21, Mruga Parekh ’22, and Jive Jacob ’20 under the direction of Dorothy Lobo, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the biology department, was recently published as a journal article, “Kumquat essential oil decreases proliferation and activates JNK signaling and apoptosis in HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells,” in the February 2022 issue of “Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.” 

Their research on essential oils, which spanned three years, was sparked by a challenge from James Mack, Ed.D, professor of biology, who has led student research teams to investigate the anti-bacterial properties of essential oils and approached the Lobo research group to see if these oils may also have an effect on cancer.

The students were responsible for culturing and treating a variety of cancerous cell lines with kumquat essential oil, which was provided as a gift from Monmouth alumnus Kevin Young ’89. Results demonstrated that treatment of cancer cell lines with kumquat essential oil haltered their proliferation and triggered cell signaling which activated programmed cell death in these cell lines.

Soni’s contributions to the project also resulted in her writing an honors thesis prior to her graduation; she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins. Parekh graduated in January 2022 and has been accepted to dental school for fall 2022. Jacob, who won a travel award in 2019 to present the preliminary work on this project at the national American Society for Cell Biology conference in Washington, DC, is currently applying to medical schools.

Jive Jacob and Subah Soni
Jive Jacob ’20 and Subah Soni ’21 in 2020.


Mruga Parekh ’22 works in the lab.
Mruga Parekh ’22 working in the lab.