American Association for Cancer Research

2013 Minority Scholars A-L

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

I intend to continue my research on prostate cancer to understand biological differences or tumor characteristics that may contribute to racial disparities in the progression and outcome of this cancer.

Abstract #6861:

miRNA-related gene variants and prostate cancer aggressiveness and recurrence.

Poster Session:           

PO.EP02.03. Poster Session - GWAS, Post-GWAS, and Functional Studies


Tuesday, April 9, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Oscar A. Balbin, M.S.

Oscar A. Balbin, M.S., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

My long-term research plan centers on developing systemic and comprehensive views of oncogenic pathways driving carcinogesis by integrating global and unbiased profiling of genetic mutations, transcript expression and protein activity in cancer cells.”

Abstract #7191:

Reconstructing targetable pathways in KRAS-dependent lung cancer by integrating transcriptome, proteome and phosphoproteome.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB14.01. Poster Session - Integrative and Computational Cancer Biology


Wednesday, April 10, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Donita C. Brady, Ph.D.

Donita C. Brady, Ph.D., Duke University, Durham, NC 

Abstract #3581:

Copper is required for oncogenic BRAF signaling and tumorigenesis.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB04.04. Poster Session - Signaling Pathways in Cancer Cells


Tuesday, April 9, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Jeff P. Bruce, B.Sc.

Jeff P. Bruce, B.Sc., University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada

“From the moment I first decided to pursue a career in research, cancer biology has been my primary interest. In the past four years since the completion of my undergraduate degree, it has become quite clear to me that translational cancer research is where my passion lies. In the long term, I plan to pursue a career as translational researcher in the field of cancer biology - either in an academic or industrial setting. The field of cancer genomics in a major interest of mine, so I hope to continue in this field and am immensely excited by the fantastic research in this area that is currently and will continue to revolutionize cancer research and treatment.”

Abstract #5696

The identification of potentially prognostic microRNAs in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB13.03. Poster Session - Non-Coding RNAs as Cancer Biomarkers


Monday, April 8, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


 Linette Castillo-Pichardo, Ph.D.

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

“My immediate goal is to establish a research group focused on the study of microRNAs as breast cancer therapeutics. My long-term goals are to become an active breast cancer researcher and contribute to novel therapeutic strategies, particularly focused at aggressive and metastatic breast cancer. I also aim to become a role model for other minorities and will provide them with the guidance and opportunities given to me today.”

Abstract #2963

Dietary resveratrol promotes breast cancer progression in immunocompromised mice.

Poster Session:           

PO.PR01.05. Poster Session - Preclinical Animal Models 3 / Molecular Targets


Wednesday, April 10, 8:00a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


 Michelle Coleman, M.D.

Michelle Coleman, M.D., University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Charlotte, NC

“My long-range goal is to forge a career as a physician-scientist. I completed my medical training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2011 and began my residency training in orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. I am currently taking a break in my residency training to pursue a Ph.D., and I will return to orthopedic surgery residency after completion of this degree.  Following residency, I am highly interested in completing an orthopedic fellowship in musculoskeletal oncology. Eventually I envision myself working as a surgeon-scientist in an academic medical center, potentially as the principal investigator of my own lab, or as a co-principal investigator with another M.D. or Ph.D. colleague.

Abstract #4648

Periostin expression is altered by TGF and hypoxia during breast cancer progression.

Poster Session:           

PO.TB06.05. Poster Session - Chemokines, Cytokines, and Tumor Microenvironment Interaction


Monday, April 8,  1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


 Maria Gonzalez-Pons, Ph.D.

Maria Gonzalez-Pons, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Juan, PR

Ultimately, my goal is to become a productive investigator able to obtain continuous, independent funding to support a multidisciplinary research team focused on cancer. I plan to specialize in carcinogenesis pathways and their impact in health disparities including the genetic and environmental interactions that affect patient outcomes.”

Abstract #6656

Detection of early-onset CRC tumor methylation biomarkers in plasma.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB06.02. Poster Session - Polycomb, Premalignancy, and Exposure Epigenetics


Wednesday, April 10, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


 Aimalie L. Hardaway, B.S.

Aimalie L. Hardaway, B.S., Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

My goals are to identify novel biomarkers for detection and prognosis of aggressive prostate cancer and to reveal new targets for therapeutic intervention. In addition to research, I hope to have opportunities to teach and mentor future generations of young scientists, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. My goal is to ultimately follow examples of great teachers and mentors I have had throughout my short scientific career that inspire students both in and outside of laboratories and classrooms.

Abstract #3716

Bone marrow adipocyte-derived CXCL1 and CXCL2 in prostate tumor progression in bone.

Poster Session:           

PO.TB06.05. Poster Session - Chemokines, Cytokines, and Tumor Microenvironment Interaction


Wednesday, April 10, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Tabitha M. Hardy, Ph.D.

Tabitha M. Hardy, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

As a researcher my long-range goal is to continue my commitment to eradicating cancer, as an advocate for cancer awareness and as a scientific investigator. As an advocate, I hope to implement and work with programs whose primary focus include providing information about signs, symptoms, and effective/preventative treatments of cancer, targeting minority populations in the South.”

Abstract #7236

Dietary compounds EGCG and sulforaphane differentially reactivate ER-α in African American and Caucasian breast cancer cells.

Poster Session:           

PO.PR01.01. Poster Session - Epidemiology / Molecular Targets


Tuesday, April 9, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., April 10, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Kelly Harris, M.S.

Kelly Harris, M.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“Once I have completed my doctoral degree from Meharry Medical College, I plan to participate in a postdoctoral fellowship at a cancer research institute. After completing my postdoctoral training, I plan to continue conducting cancer-related research at a minority institution. The rationale for this career path is twofold. First, minority populations are disproportionately affected by various diseases, cancer being one of them. My goal is introduce more minorities such as myself from the Mississippi delta region to biomedical research and train more researchers. I also want to form partnerships with cancer research institutions such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.”

Abstract #5443

Obesity enhances benzo(a)pyrene-induced colon tumorigenesis in a PIRC rat model of colon cancer.

Poster Session:           

PO.CG01.01. Poster Session - Molecular Carcinogenesis


Monday, April 8, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Stephania Libreros, B.S.

Stephania Libreros, B.S., Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

My long term goals are to persue an academic career that will give the opportunity to help the fight against cancer but more importantly it will give the opportunity to train the next generation of scientist. My ultimate goal is to become a principal investigator in a major academic research institution.”

Abstract #6851

Pulmonary inflammation associated with Chitinase-3-like-1 protein (CHI3L1) expression accelerates breast cancer metastasis to the lung.

Poster Session:           

PO.TB04.03. Poster Session - Metastasis-Promoting Pathways


Tuesday, April 9, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Adana A. Llanos, Ph.D.

Adana A. Llanos, Ph.D., Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH

“My overarching interest is to develop a deeper understanding of the association between adipokines and other inflammatory cytokines, common variants in related genes, and cancer aggressiveness, particularly among minority and underserved populations. Given that there is a disproportionate cancer burden experienced by these groups, I also have an immense interest in the development of culturally-appropriate interventions to modify biomarker levels to reduce cancer risk and mortality.”

Abstract #5549

Association between variation in LEP A19G and adipokine concentrations in plasma and breast tissues.

Poster Session:           

PO.EP02.01. Poster Session - Biomarkers of Exposure, Dietary Factors, and Risk or Prognosis of Diseases


Sunday, April 7, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Angelina I. Londono-Joshi, B.S.

Angelina I. Londono-Joshi, B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

“The university’s academic environment has always attracted me because of its collaborative nature and educational advancements, opportunity to be involved in novel research, and the close association with teaching hospital involved in clinical studies. This is exactly where I see myself as a future researcher. I realize that there are many hardships involved in research, but I am confident that since I am passionate about scientific research and fully dedicated to producing high quality results, I will accomplish my long-term goals. 

Abstract #861

Analysis of predictive genes in triple-negative breast cancer in response to a gamma-secretase inhibitor.

Poster Session:           

PO.EP02.01. Poster Session - Biomarkers of Exposure, Dietary Factors, and Risk or Prognosis of Diseases


Sunday, April 7, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Yaliz Loperena-Alvarez, M.S.

Yaliz Loperena-Alvarez, M.S., Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamon, PR

“My long-term goals include competing for a faculty position in United States or Puerto Rico in order to mentor minority students, just like me, to complete their goals and advanced the biomedical research, especially on the immunology of IBC. One of my major goals is to be able to teach while conducting research in my laboratory”

Abstract #7375

Effects of Ganoderma lucidum on cytokine expression in Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Poster Session:           

PO.IM01.04. Poster Session - Drug-Immune Interactions


Wednesday, April 10, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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