The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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David Weiss, a graduate student at Ohio State, has been a Pelotonia fellow and has participated in the race.

Jo McCulty

Powered by Pelotonia

Ohio State graduate student David Weiss earned a Pelotonia fellowship to research how stress in people with leukemia affects their response to vaccines.

The millions of dollars raised each year through Pelotonia benefit projects under way in 10 colleges across Ohio State. One such project is personal and professional for David Weiss ’16 MA, a doctoral student in psychology who earned a $27,000 Pelotonia fellowship in 2017.

Weiss investigates how psychological factors such as stress, mood and social support affect how patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia — the most common type of leukemia in adults — respond to routine vaccinations.

“We can’t help that a person gets leukemia, but we can see if there are changes a person can make to improve outcomes,” Weiss says. “If people with stress have worse outcomes, for example, then we have low-cost, stress-reducing programs we can offer them.”

Weiss can trace the personal side of his work to his childhood. He was 6 when his mom, a factory worker in eastern Pennsylvania, went to college to get a medical assistant degree. She later worked in an oncologist’s office, and Weiss was awestruck by how she changed the trajectory of her life through education.

“One of my strongest childhood memories was sitting around the kitchen table after breakfast and my mom would look through the obituaries and see the names of patients she had helped,” Weiss says. “It was bittersweet for her because she took a lot of pride in the care she was able to give them.”

Ride of a lifetime

The 11th annual Pelotonia bicycle ride takes place Aug. 2–4 between Columbus and Gambier. Register to ride, become a virtual rider or donate, and learn about Pulll, an app that raises money while you exercise.

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