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​​​2017 Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Awards

Yousef AhmadibeniYousef Ahmadibeni, PhD
Assistant Professor
Tennessee State University
Nashville, Tennessee

"My research goal is to integrate diverse research backgrounds and approaches to address biological questions related to cancer, with the primary focus of examining medicinal formulations and their subsequent impact within the human biological system. My long-term research objective is to develop both general and versatile strategies for synthesizing various anticancer drugs, with the deliverable goal of positioning these bio-chemical processes for more rigorous commercial trials."

Abstract 2180: Triphenylmethanol conjugates of leuprorelin as anticancer prodrugs

Olatunji B. AleseOlatunji B. Alese, MD
Assistant Professor
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia

"My long-term career goal is to become a successful physician-scientist working to improve clinical outcomes in patients with gastrointestinal cancers."

CT116: BMS-986205, an optimized indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) inhibitor, is well tolerated with potent pharmacodynamic (PD) activity, alone and in combination with nivolumab (nivo) in advanced cancers in a phase 1/2a trial
Clinical Trials Plenary Session: CTSY04-Novel Immuno-oncology Agent Clinical Trials

Seyung S. ChungSeyung S. Chung, PhD
Assistant Professor
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science
Los Angeles, California

"I am interested in the mechanisms by which cancer cells convert stem-like cells since cancer stem cells are responsible for drug resistance and metastasis. My research goal is to develop a novel, efficient targeted-therapy for the treatment of colorectal cancer.  My long-range career goal is becoming an independent investigator in cancer research, working on reducing health disparities in the underserved, underrepresented community."

Abstract 111: Targeting STAT3 and telomerase for the treatment of colorectal cancer

Ingrid C. EspinozaArmando Del Portillo, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York

"I aspire to establish a successful and productive research program while also delivering excellent care as a gastrointestinal/liver pathologist. I hope to advance the field of cancers of the GI tract and that my research can directly contribute to a cure of a GI malignancy." 

Abstract 5532: Functional role of Friend leukemia integration-1 (FLI1) in gastric carcinogenesis

Ingrid C. EspinozaIngrid C. Espinoza, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)
Jackson, Mississippi

"My long career objective is to improve the health of our Mississippians, through the development of new therapeutic cancer tools. My research goals are: 1) To become an independent cancer research investigator. 2) To continue working in the development of new therapeutic cancer treatments. 3) To become a recognized cancer researcher that can help to improve our cancer patients outcome." 

Abstract 4716: Stemness markers in colorectal cancer: Analysis in a racially-diverse population

Christian GomezChristian Gomez, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Jackson, Mississippi

"My primary research goal is to establish the relevance of components of the external milieu as critical drivers of aggressive tumors. I study hypoxia-controlled genes as markers and factors of therapy response in cancer. My career objective is to leverage my scientific background to integrate tumor physiopathology mechanisms and ultimately provide novel disease biomarkers and therapeutic agents."

Abstract 2964: Accumulation of hepatoma up-regulated protein in prostate cancer cells inhibits bortezomib-induced apoptosis

Mingli LiuMingli Liu, PhD, MD
Morehouse School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia

"My research is highly significant and translationally relevant to understanding of the development and progression of glioma which may lead to novel and useful biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets in the context of GBM. We believe that the novel knowledge obtained from our study will significantly impact the outcome of glioma patients, which would impact medical care in near future. My career goal is to make substantial contributions to better diagnose and develop mechanism-driven targeted therapies for brain cancer patients. These include identification and characterization of genetic and epigenetic changes during the initiation and progression of brain cancer, functional characterization of these genes and/or proteins in cancer initiation and development of targeted therapies." 

Abstract 3128: TRPM7 regulates glioma cell proliferation and migration through different function domains

Alicia McDonaldAlicia McDonald, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Penn State University College of Medicine
Hershey, Pennsylvania

"My ultimate career objective is to be a well-trained, independent cancer epidemiologist focused on reducing prostate cancer incidence and improving prostate cancer health outcomes, especially among black men who have a higher risk and poorer health outcomes compared to other racial groups. To achieve this objective, my short-term research goals are to conduct epidemiologic studies that identify risk factors for prostate cancer and potential biomarkers for the early detection of prostate cancer and aggressive disease."

Abstract 4241: Circulating microRNAs in plasma of men screened for prostate cancer

Sarah J. NyanteSarah J. Nyante, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

"My career objectives are to have a fully-funded research program focused on breast cancer risk and prognosis that is supported by collaborations with multi-disciplinary groups on campus (radiology/imaging, epidemiology, cancer outcomes, translational and clinical sciences).

My research goals are to improve approaches to risk stratification and treatment among patients diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. I plan to incorporate animal and/or in vitro models into my studies to increase the translational relevance."

Abstract 5308: Tissue-based heterogeneity in lobular carcinoma in situ

Harold I. SaavedraHarold I. Saavedra, PhD
Associate Professor
Ponce Health Sciences University
Ponce, Puerto Rico

"My long-career objective is to address if kinases that drive centrosome amplification, mitotic dysfunction and chromosome instability in breast cancers are risk factors for poor prognosis breast tumors in Hispanics of Caribbean origin." 

Abstract 3461: The Nek2 mitotic kinase drives centrosome amplification, mitotic dysfunction, and invasion in mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells.

David J. Sanabria-RiosDavid J. Sanabria-Rios, PhD
Associate Professor and Researcher
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Metropolitan Campus
San Juan, Puerto Rico

"I set a professional goal to be a competitive, independent, and externally-funded researcher in the area of medicinal chemistry. This travel award will provide me the opportunity to disseminate preliminary data and get critiques from peers, which will be helpful when submitting competitive grant applications or manuscripts." 

Abstract 5157: Preparation of curcumin analog nanoparticles and determination of their anticancer activity in prostate cancer

Gangadhara Reddy SareddyGangadhara Reddy Sareddy, PhD
Assistant Professor
UT Health Science Center, San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas

"To establish strong research program for studying the role of estrogen receptor beta in cancer progression using brain and ovarian cancer models (2) To recruit and train postdoctoral / graduate students in cancer biology and also to participate in graduate student teaching (3) To establish synergistic research collaborations in the area of brain and ovarian cancer within and outside of UT Health Science Center at San Antonio." 

Abstract 4764: Activation of estrogen receptor beta signaling reduces stemness and promotes differentiation of glioma stem cells

Anjana SaxenaAnjana Saxena, PhD
Associate Professor
Brooklyn College (CUNY)
New York, New York

"I study nucleolar control of cellular stress response. My long-term goal is to understand how nucleolar RNA binding proteins regulate gene expression during the cellular response to DNA damage and tumorigenesis, with the potential to identify molecules of therapeutic values." 

Abstract 497: Higher nucleolar index of nucleolin as an indicator of aberrant cellular DNA damage response (DDR)

Maria Soledad SosaMaria Soledad Sosa, PhD
Assistant Professor
Mount Sinai
New York, New York

"My long-term career objective is to become an independent researcher in the area of cancer metastasis. My overall goal is to prevent metastasis formation by focusing on the biology of disseminated tumor cells. The specific aims are: 1) to understand how disseminated tumor cells enter dormancy, reactivate and survive; and 2) to identify the sources of minimal residual disease and investigate their biology so we can propose strategies to prevent metastasis."

Abstract 3922: NR2F1 limits dissemination and stemness of early breast cancer cells

Syreeta L. TilghmanSyreeta L. Tilghman, PhD
Associate Professor
Florida A&M University
Tallahassee, Florida

"My long-term career goal is to obtain continuous R01 level or equivalent funding to support my research endeavors. I would like to make an impact on the lives of metastatic breast cancer patients by improving overall survival. My long-term research goal is to better understand the mechanism(s) of aromatase inhibitor-resistant breast cancer, in order to contribute to both the improvement of current therapeutic modalities and the development of novel treatment strategies." 

Abstract 3183: Proteomic characterization of aromatase inhibitor resistant mammospheres reveals the presence of a novel nuclear chaperone

Danyell WilsonDanyell Wilson, PhD
Associate Professor
Bethune-Cookman University
South Daytona, Florida

"Identify cancer prevention resources including smoking cessation programs, community outreach organizations that promote cancer prevention and education, and local events including health fairs and festivals, workshops, campaigns, etc. in the 29 counties that have been identified as the catchment area of the cancer center. The focus will be on Organizations and Events (O&E) that occurred between Jan. 2010-Dec. 2016. Correlation of the distance between the intervention O&E and cancer incidence and mortality hot spots will be analyzed."

Abstract LB-175: Gender and racial disparities in incidence trends of tobacco related cancers from 2010 to 2013

Xiaohe YangXiaohe Yang, PhD
Associate Professor
North Carolina Central University
Kannapolis, North Carolina

"My long-term research goal is to identify the risk factors that contribute to breast cancer etiology and develop strategies for breast cancer prevention. We are particularly interested in the etiology and prevention of ErbB2+ breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer." 

Abstract 2223: Rapamycin suppresses ErbB2-overexpressing mammary tumors through selective inhibition of luminal progenitor cells and tumor-initiating cells