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FINDING CURES TOGETHER<sup>SM</sup>
Diana M. Merino, MSc, PhD

Past Chairperson
Diana M. Merino, MSc, PhD
Science Policy Analyst
Friends of Cancer Research
Washington, District of Columbia

My work involves the development of evidence-based policies that will improve care for cancer patients and survivors, facilitating dialogue between stakeholders through the organization of science policy conferences and symposia, and advocating on behalf of cancer patients and survivors. I am passionate about disseminating scientific research findings and implementing solutions to accelerate progress in cancer care. My own experience with the disease drives my desire to improve awareness of the needs cancer patients and survivors face, and the importance of cancer research.

It was a tremendous honor to pursue my postdoctoral research work at the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and to have been mentored by Drs. Lindsay Morton and Sharon Savage. My research efforts focused on investigating the association between germline genetic abnormalities and risk of subsequent cancers in childhood cancer survivors and individuals with hereditary cancer syndromes, and elucidating risk for second sarcoma in survivors of pediatric and young adult cancers. This research training complemented the work that I conducted during my doctoral studies in David Malkin’s laboratory at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, where I investigated the molecular landscape of a rare, but deadly, brain tumor called choroid plexus carcinoma using an integrative high-throughput approach.

I became an AACR Associate Member in 2011 when I first attended the Annual Meeting. I was honored with the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Scholar Award in 2011 and 2012, which opened my eyes to the great opportunities available for early-career scientists at the AACR. Since attending several Annual Meetings, I have gained valuable knowledge and perspective by interacting with fellow scientists, learning from the innumerable oral and poster presentations, and meeting leading researchers and mentors. As Past Chair of the AMC, I look forward to supporting the Council in enriching the professional development of Associate Members.