American Association for Cancer Research

2012 Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards A-K

Maria Abreu

Maria M. Abreu, B.S., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

“My long-range goal is to continue my pursuit in the discovery, analysis and intervention of oncogenesis. After completing my Ph.D. training, I will obtain a postdoctoral position in academia. As a postdoctoral fellow, my goal is to be very productive and publish my work in high impact journals. I will continue to give back to my community by both mentoring underrepresented students and focusing on racial disparities in research.”

Abstract 4978: The C/EBPbeta isoform, liver-enriched inhibitory protein (LIP) induces cell death in breast cancer cell lines
PO.MCB02.03 Cell Death Effector Mechanisms,
April 4, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Lauren Amable

Lauren Amable, Ph.D., University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

“With the completion of my Ph.D., I am currently in my postdoctoral fellowship. For long-term goals, I plan to continue to do research in an academic environment and hopefully in the not-so-distant future, I would like to become an independent researcher and have my own lab. I plan to continue to do research in the ovarian cancer field but would like to span out and apply current research to other cancers.”

Abstract 5613: A specific isoform of Gli1 binds the Gli-binding-site of the c-jun and c-fos promoters.
PO.ET04.02 Cytoplasmic Kinases and Drug Resistance,
April 4, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Ernest Amankwah

Ernest K. Amankwah, Ph.D., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Center, Tampa, FL

“My career goal is to become an independent researcher and to contribute to the reduction in health disparities. I intend to develop a high-impact collaborative cancer research to identify biomarkers that may interact with lifestyle and contextual factors to understand the disparities in cancer outcomes. My training and experience in molecular biology, epidemiology and health services research will enable me to collaborate with clinicians, basic scientists, biostatisticians and behavioral scientists to conduct transdisciplinary studies in cancer health disparities. As an independent investigator, I will also mentor and help in the training of young minority scientists and students.”

Abstract 2615: Genetic variations in angiogenesis-related genes in prostate cancer recurrence
PO.EP02.05 Genes, Gene-Environment Interactions, and Hormone-Related Cancers, April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Oluwatoyin Asojo

Oluwatoyin A. Asojo, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

“My long range goal is to develop new drugs targeting some of the proteins that I am studying.”

Abstract 4746: Structural studies of Human glioma pathogenesis-related protein 1 (GLIPR1)
PO.CH02.01 Chemical and Structural Biology of Cancer,
April 3, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Tameka Bailey

Tameka A. Bailey, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

“My long-range educational and research training goals are: 1) to attend national, regional and institutional cancer oriented meetings, seminars and symposiums; and 2) to continue my current work on the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of HER2 targeted therapies in breast cancers.”

Abstract 1221: Microscopy Based High Throughput Screen for the Mechanistic Analyses of ErbB2 Degradation in Response to HSP90-Targeted Therapeutics
PO.MCB01.03 Receptors, April 2, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Erica Bozeman

Erica N. Bozeman, B.E., Emory University, Atlanta, GA

“Upon completion of my Ph.D., I aspire to obtain a postdoctoral position at a research university whereby I would continue to develop the skills required to be a fully independent scientist in the area of cancer research. I will seek opportunities and fellowships that will allow me to gain more teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Whether directly through my research or indirectly through my training and teaching of others, I am committed to a productive career in the cancer research field.”

Abstract 3537: Manipulation of local and systemic immune suppression by GPI-anchored immune stimulatory proteins
PO.IM01.02 Tumor Immunobiology 2, April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Rebecca Burkhalter

Rebecca Joyce Burkhalter, B.S., University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

“My current research goals include elucidation of the role(s) of mechanotransduction in ovarian tumor dissemination. I am very interested in identification of molecular targets and pathways that regulate late-stage ovarian carcinoma metastasis. My objective is to create a body of novel information that contributes to improvement of diagnoses and treatment of ovarian cancer. In addition to research, I have a vested interest in science education, particularly in increasing research-based laboratory experiences for disadvantaged youth and underrepresented minorities.”

Abstract 2472: Peritoneal mechanobiology and metastatic success in epithelial ovarian cancer
PO.TB06.05 Matrix and Modulators in Microenvironment,
April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Linette Castillo-Pichardo

Linette Castillo-Pichardo, Ph.D., Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamón, PR

“I plan to expand the breast cancer and biochemistry research training I have received during my predoctoral career, with the guidance of my postdoctoral mentors to further develop my critical thinking skills and knowledge in the field. Once I have matured as an independent scientist, I will commit myself to the pursuit of my long-term career goal of becoming a university professor and establishing a laboratory. I will focus my research efforts in the development of new therapeutic approaches for treatment and prevention of breast cancer.”

Abstract 2142: Dietary grape polyphenol resveratrol regulates Rac activity to increase mammary tumor growth and metastasis
PO.MCB01.09 GTPases and Effectors, April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Tainya Clarke

Tainya C. Clarke, M.P.H., University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 

“My goal is to conduct translational research in cancer epidemiology with a strong focus on occupational disparities.”

Abstract 3577: A decade of changed behavior: Trends in screening adherence and incidence 2000-2010
PO.EP01.04 Cancer Continuum: From Screening to Outcomes,
April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Shahnjayla Connors

Shahnjayla K. Connors, Ph.D., M.P.H., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Ctr. and Res. Inst., Tampa, FL

“Upon completion of my postdoctoral training, my career goal is to transition into an independent researcher focusing on the biobehavioral aspects of cancer and cancer disparities, focusing on prostate cancer. I plan to integrate my biological and public health training to develop and implement mechanisms for integrating biological and behavioral components for cancer prevention, screening and treatment in minority populations. My ultimate career goal is to direct a national center of minority health.”

Abstract 616: A cumulative molecular model for the mechanisms of green tea catechins in the chemoprevention of prostate cancer
PO.PR01.02 Preclinical Prevention Studies 2: Cellular and Animal Models, April 1, 1:00 p.m. - April 1, 5:00 p.m.

Leah Cook

Leah M. Cook, Ph.D., University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

“I aim to pursue a career as an academic scientist at a research institution focusing on cancer-related disparities and the differences in genetics and the tumor microenvironment which contribute to differing disease pathologies in individual races.”

Abstract 3416: Ubiquitous Brms1 expression is critical for mammary carcinoma metastasis suppression via promotion of apoptosis
PO.TB04.03 Metastasis Suppressors,
April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper, M.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“After the completion of the Masters of Science in Public Health program I plan to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. As a physician, I hope to specialize in global health and continue to participate in health disparity research.”

Abstract 2114: Trypanosoma brucei: A model to evaluate joint contribution of BRCA2 and PARP in DNA damage repair
PO.MCB08.01 DNA Repair Mechanisms,
April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Valerie Cortez

Valerie A. Cortez, B.S., The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

“My long-term goal is to discover novel pathways that contribute to the development of women cancers with special focus on hormonal-driven cancers, and to translate these findings into development of better strategies for treatment of hormonal and therapy-resistant cancers. I will undergo a postdoctoral training in breast cancer research before seeking a tenure-track faculty position in an excellent research environment.”

Abstract 3294: A novel inducible mammary gland-specific PELP1 murine breast cancer model
PO.TB01.02 Animal Models of Breast, Gynecologic and Genitourinary Malignancies, April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate

Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate, Ph.D., UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

“My career goal is to become an outstanding independent scientist engaged in cancer cell biology and translational research. I hope that my research work will lead to new discoveries for the intellectual enrichment of the biomedical research scientific community in particular salivary gland and pancreas carcinomas so that one day my research will be able to translate from the bench to the bedside.”

Abstract 2357: Novel transgenic animal model of salivary gland tumors
PO.TB01.03 Animal Models of Epithelial, Neuronal and Pulmonary Malignancies, April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Alejandra De Angulo

Alejandra De Angulo, B.S., University of Texas at Austin, DPRI, Austin, TX

“My ultimate goal is to develop a strong foundation to build an independent, productive research career and inspire other minority students to pursue a career in science. As a graduate student, I have expanded my training and knowledge to better understand the link between aging T-lymphocytes, inflammation and prostate cancer development.”

Abstract 3553: Modulation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways by aging T-lymphocytes contributes to a more malignant phenotype in prostate epithelial cells
PO.IM01.02 Tumor Immunobiology 2, April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Romone Fancy

Romone M. Fancy, B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

“My research training goal is to be well-versed in my experimental focus, but to also gain significant computational modeling experience and knowledge. I am considering working in the biomedical industry field, in which I could work for a major pharmaceutical or bioengineering company.”

Abstract 4754: Quantitative characterization of calmodulin and Fas death domain interactions
PO.CH02.01 Chemical and Structural Biology of Cancer,
April 3, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Lauren Fonseca

Lauren L. Fonseca, B.S., University of Hawai'i kaka'ako Campus, Honolulu, HI

“I am currently working towards obtaining a Ph.D. in molecular biosciences and bioengineering from University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Following graduate school, I intend to find a postdoctoral position, which will allow me to focus on drug discovery/developmental therapeutics towards skin cancer. My ultimate long-term goal is to become an independent cancer researcher.”

Abstract 2144: RasGRp1 induces autophagy in primary epidermal keratinocytes resembling fail-safe mechanisms triggered by oncogenic Ras
PO.MCB01.09 GTPases and Effectors, April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kyle Francis

Kyle E. Francis, M.S., Institution of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh, UK 

“To study the pharmacodynamics of promising small molecule inhibitors in ovarian cancer, currently those affecting Chk1 and Chk2 function, and graduate with my Ph.D. degree in pathology. Afterwards I plan to continue in translational cancer research by analyzing changes in signaling pathway networks during therapeutic treatment as a means to increase tumour response and help stratify patients for beneficial therapies.”

Abstract 3642: Phospho-CHK1 as a prognostic biomarker in ovarian cancer and a potential target in platinum-resistant disease
PO.CL13.04 Biomarkers of Ovarian, Prostate and Bladder Cancers,
April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Evan Gomes

Evan Gomes, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando Cancer Research Institute, Orlando, FL

“I would like to establish myself as an independent researcher specifically in a pancreatic cancer program. My current research objective is to continue to receive guidance and pertinent direction from my mentors. My career objective is to gain specialized expertise as a pancreatic cancer researcher that will enable me to make a significant and noteworthy contribution to the field.”

Abstract 2859: Dual targeting of protein tyrosine kinase c-Src and protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 is a novel therapeutic strategy that induces potent inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell viability in vitro and tumor progression in vivo.

PO.ET07.03 Phosphatases and Kinases as Targets for Therapy,
April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Engda Hagos

Engda Hagos, Ph.D., Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

“My long-range educational plan is to stay in academic setting to do research in cancer biology and mentor undergraduate students who are willing to fight against cancer. My research focuses on elucidating the mechanism of genomic instability. I believe my expertise as a cancer researcher will enable me to make a significant contribution to the field.”

Abstract 2028: Krüppel-like factor 4 null mouse embryonic fibroblasts exhibit DNA repair defects post exposure to gamma-irradiation
PO.MCB07.01 Cell Cycle Control 1, April 2, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Chane Hardamon

Chanae R. Hardamon, B.S., University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

“My long-term goal is to obtain a doctoral degree and work with or for communities plagued by disparate disease circumstances, possibly in a global aspect. In this regard, I am considering several career paths; one path encompasses working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I will continue to be involved in the fight against cancer and encourage students, especially minority students, to pursue higher education.”

Abstract 5228: Inhibition of myeloid cell PI3Kγ is a potential therapeutic approach to treat pancreatic cancer
PO.TB06.07 Drug Targets, Tumor Dormancy and Microenvironment,
April 4, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Ashley Huderson

Ashley C. Huderson, B.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“My career goal is to conduct translational cancer prevention research. Upon successful completion of my doctorate degree and certificate I would like to integrate my health policy and doctoral training through a postdoctoral fellowship in translational cancer prevention research. Ideally, I would like to conduct research related to estimating patterns and trends in cancer-related risk factors, health behaviors and health services.”

Abstract 5459: Benzo(a)pyrene biotransformation enzyme expression, activities and metabolite disposition in ApcMin mouse colon and liver is altered by resveratrol exposure.
PO.CG01.03 Chemical and Environmental Carcinogenesis,
April 4, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Tiffany Katz

Tiffany A. Katz, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

“My long-term goal is to become an independent breast cancer researcher and make major contributions to the field by developing novel therapeutic strategies for aggressive breast cancer.”

Abstract 1052: Synergy between inhibition of novel histone demethylase (LSD2) and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) in modulating gene expression and inhibiting growth in human breast cancer cells.

PO.MCB06.01 Chromatin Regulators, April 2, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Laurimer Kuilan-Torres

Laurimer Kuilan-Torres, B.S., University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR

"It is my desire to work in translational research, where I can integrate basic science research findings to the process of development a drug and clinical trials, that can help the Hispanic and Latina women. Therefore, my plan after I finished my master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences is to pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacy.”

Abstract 3078: Effects of neuregulins in the regulation of EGFR in breast cancer cell lines
PO.MCB05.01 Cross-Talk between Signaling Pathways and Transcription Factors, April 3, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Minority Scholars A-K (top)

Minority Scholars L-Z