Announcing Four New AMC Members for 2014-2017
The Associate Member Council (AMC) would like to thank every applicant for their willingness to represent the needs of their fellow early-career scientists. We had a total of 87 eligible applications this year from all over the world, showing an impressively high number of motivated candidates seeking leadership positions. After an extremely competitive review process, we ask that you please join us in welcoming the four new members of the AMC who will take office at the April AACR Annual Meeting 2014 and will serve until 2017:
Kenneth Dutton-Regester, Ph.D.
Research Officer/Postdoctoral Researcher
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
My research interests involve the identification of genetic events underlying the growth of metastatic melanoma with a strong focus on translating these findings into new therapeutic applications. This includes understanding both the genetics of melanoma predisposition and somatic events leading to tumorigenesis. After completing my Ph.D. in 2012, I became interested in the molecular mechanisms of a rare, poorly investigated form of melanoma known as a melanoma of unknown primary (MUP) and have been working towards developing new diagnostic methodologies to improve targeted therapies. Between 2014 and 2017, I will be undertaking an Australian funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. My long-term career goal is to improve the dismal survival rates for patients with late-stage melanoma, contributing to the transition of a frequently terminal disease into a manageable and controllable form of disease.
Besides my research, I have a strong passion for science communication and the professional development of early-career researchers. I believe as scientists we have an obligation to inform the community on the outcomes of our research, in particular, those studies that are funded by government organizations. Through these efforts we can promote the benefits of medical research, inspire the next generation of scientists and educate the public on preventive strategies to reduce the burden of cancer in society (this is particularly important for melanoma, a disease of which is largely preventable). As future scientific leaders, empowering early-career researchers to achieve their maximum potential is critical for moving the field forward to prevent and cure cancer; I am honored to serve on the AACR AMC to support my fellow colleagues.
Wenji Guo, B.S.
University of Oxford
My research focuses on the relationship between hormonal and reproductive factors and breast cancer risk using large scale cohort studies. In September 2013, I began my doctoral studies at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit as a Fulbright-Oxford Clarendon Scholar. I previously trained as a molecular biologist, investigating signaling pathways involved in prostate cancer cell invasion. Molecular epidemiology effectively combines my passion for elucidating the mechanisms of disease with evaluating the dynamic roles of behavioral, environmental, and social factors in explaining the distribution and determinants of disease. My long-term career goal is to become a physician-epidemiologist whose work elucidates new directions for not only medical research, but also clinical practice and public policy.
Ever since attending and presenting at the AACR Annual Meeting in 2012 as an undergraduate, I have been impressed and incredibly grateful for AACR’s commitment to fostering the development of early-career scientists. The AACR has already made a deep impact on my career goals and development – the feedback I received from presenting my poster revealed new ideas for my project, the sheer magnitude of the meeting and variety of sessions exposed me to other areas of cutting-edge cancer research - as well as to leading researchers - and my conversations with other cancer epidemiologists catalyzed my growing interest in the field, and ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. All of these experiences opened my eyes to the vital role of effective collaboration, training, and mentorship in building the foundation for a fulfilling career. I am honored and excited to address the needs of associate members through the development and implementation of programs and resources to effectively navigate both the opportunities and challenges of cancer research.
Selena Lin, M.S.
With a biomedical engineering background, I began my Ph.D. studies at Drexel University College of Medicine, under Dr. Ying-Hsiu Su, with translational interests. Our laboratory focuses on biomarker discovery and development for improving hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal cancer screening through use of urine to address the urgent need for better and more biomarkers. In particular, my research focuses on exploring the potential for detecting reduced complexity of HBV DNA integration sites in the circulation as a biomarker for screening for HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma. Overall, we ultimately aim to provide a sensitive and specific noninvasive screening platform to detect these deadly cancers early and improve patient outcome.
Since attending my first AACR meeting in 2012, I’ve attended numerous AMC sponsored sessions that have provided me with great insight during this early stage of my career, and this inspired me to become more involved. I am greatly honored to serve on this council. I hope to bring a unique perspective with my experiences in translational and entrepreneurial activities, like writing business plans for cancer-related technologies and being active at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center - an entrepreneurial organization dedicated to translational research. Given the current funding situation and my unique experiences as a graduate student, I hope to contribute to the AACR mission and work to address the needs of my peer associate members.
Colles O. Price, M.S.
University of Chicago
I was first interested in cancer as an undergraduate student, but I did not understand what it was. After early graduate work during a master’s program I became fascinated with cancer. I enrolled in the cancer biology Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, I realize there is so much about cancer that is fascinating, but we still do not understand. Even more, I found myself in this new age of sequencing and how the vast majority of our DNA that we previously thought to be nonfunctional could be coding noncoding RNAs. Thus, the focus of my doctoral research has been to understand how noncoding RNAs contribute to cancer disease, specifically leukemia. My graduate work has focused on microRNAs in acute myeloid leukemia. My doctoral work has focused on identification and functional role of microRNA-9 in AML with chromosomal rearrangements involving mixed lineage leukemia (MLL). I hope that understanding this microRNA will identify novel therapeutics for these leukemia patients. Overall, I have found my project is very interesting and collaborative, which is important because I believe the next generation of scientists will better understand and treat cancer through a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach.
As a graduate student, I joined as an associate member in the AACR because I wanted to stay connected and learn about all the training opportunities available to graduate students. After attending past AACR Annual Meetings, I realized it is important for scientists to gather together to exchange ideas and network with each other. To date, the AACR has had a tremendous contribution to my education and training as a graduate student. I wanted the ability to serve a community and to help others obtain the benefits and opportunities that I gained. This is especially important as we, the current generation of early-career trainees, have our own unique challenges that we deal with and will have to deal with. I hope as part of the council I can help foster an atmosphere where scientists and trainees can learn from each other and help one another. I believe as a member of the AMC I will be able to help equip my fellow trainees as we progress through our career together.
Congratulations Ken, Wenji, Selena, and Colles!
For information on the current members of the Associate Member Council, please check out the full roster. We appreciate every candidate's interest and strongly encourage any eligible associate members to apply next summer for the 2015-2018 term. If you are attending the AACR Annual Meeting 2014 in San Diego, CA, next April, we hope to see you at the AMC programming for early-career scientists and invite you to attend the AMC Meet and Greet.
Duties of the Associate Member Council (AMC)
Council members participate in planning meetings, conference calls, receptions, and other events as official representatives of the Associate Member Council (AMC) and the AACR. Council members are expected to participate in monthly planning conference calls, attend all Annual Meetings during their term, attend a face to face planning meeting each summer in Philadelphia, and periodically contribute to written materials.
To fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the charter, members of the AMC develop programs and services for early-career scientists, including career development workshops presented during the AACR Annual Meeting; the quarterly Associate Member e-bulletin; communication among early-career scientists through peer-to-peer networking, mentorship and collaboration with senior AACR members; and corporate relationship building, among other projects. The goal of the Council is to:
- Promote the AACR and its programs;
- Encourage and maintain active participation of all eligible early-career scientists in AACR activities;
- Foster the professional development of the Associate Members of the AACR in accordance with the mission statement;
- Represent the interests of early-career scientists by acting as a liaison and advisory body to the AACR Board of Directors; and
- Serve as representatives of all Associate Members at the AACR Annual Meeting and during other functions as deemed appropriate by AACR leadership.
Term of Office
Each member serves a three-year term of office that commences at the AACR Annual Meeting.
Any questions or concerns should be addressed to: