American Association for Cancer Research

2013 Minority Scholars M-Z

Nathalie Magnus, M.Sc.

Nathalie Magnus, M.Sc., Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute, Montreal, QC, Canada

 In addition to working on completing a Ph.D. in the next year, I have also embarked on taking all the necessary course work to obtain a clinical research diploma from McGill University. This diploma is a good complement to my research, as it will open new opportunities after my Ph.D. I am still uncertain if I will stay in academia or go into industry to pursue a postdoctoral fellow, but I would like to stay in cancer research and work more in the clinical and translational side of research. I am also participating in a Research Ethics Board to help protect patient rights who will be partaking in clinical studies affiliated with McGill hospitals. The experience of reading clinical study protocols will help me in the future to draft and execute my own clinical studies.”

Abstract #3747

Procoagulant receptor tissue factor provokes the escape from brain tumor dormancy.

Poster Session:           

MS.TB06.03. Minisymposium - Role of Microenvironment in Tumor Dormancy and Resistance Niches


Sunday, April 7, 3:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

 Diandra E. Nesbitt, B.S.

Diandra E. Nesbitt, B.S., City University of New York, New York, NY

 My goal is to continue research in a cancer related area. I like to become a physician-scientist.”

Abstract #6619

NOSH-aspirin inhibits breast cancer cell growth: An effect modulated through reactive oxygen species and independent of the ER status.

Poster Session:           

PO.CG01.03. Poster Session - Transformation and Promotion


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

 Olorunseun Ogunwobi, Ph.D.

Olorunseun Ogunwobi, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

 “My long-range goal is to become a well-funded independent translational cancer researcher. In this regard, my objective is to discover novel molecular targets that can be exploited for diagnostic and therapeutic benefits in the clinical setting.”

Abstract #4511

miR-198 silencing is a mechanism of gemcitabine resistance in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Poster Session:           

PO.ET04.01. Poster Session - Drug Resistance


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

 Christopher G. Peña, B.S.

Christopher G. Peña, B.S., UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

 My long-term career goal is to work at a minority-serving academic institution as the head coordinator of outreach programs designed to recruit underrepresented students to graduate programs in the STEM fields. I want to guide young students into becoming successful graduate students and provide them with knowledge they need to pursue careers in either academia or industry.”

Abstract #5089

Utilizing uterine cancer models to study malignant transformation driven by Lkb1 loss.

Poster Session:           

PO.CG01.01. Poster Session - Molecular Carcinogenesis


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

 Esther A. Peterson, Ph.D.

Esther A. Peterson, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

“My goals throughout my research training consists of a combination of perfecting my written/oral scientific communication skills, the ability to ask relevant scientific questions and the design of a logical experimental strategy that will help me to succeed in the future as an academic researcher in the cancer biology field.”

Abstract #4559

Evaluation of circulating serum Amphiregulin levels in patients with breast cancer.

Poster Session:           

PO.CL13.01. Poster Session - Biomarkers 4: RTK/RAS Signaling


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

 Vanessa Pineros, B.A.

Vanessa Pineros, B.A., Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

 “I aspire to a career in academic medicine as a way to combine my interests in research and clinical care. To reach this goal, I am currently applying and interviewing for pediatric residency programs across the country in large academic centers. I decided to do an extra year of medical school to pursue a master's degree in translational research because, while I enjoy clinical care, I have a desire to advance health care in a way that can only be done with research. During residency, I will apply for fellowship in hematology-oncology. I then plan to work as a pediatric oncologist at an academic center where I would like to do a tenure track where I focus on research, but still maintain a clinical practice and service time.”

Abstract #6391

DNA variation at BARD1 predicts response to aurora kinase inhibition in neuroblastoma.

Poster Session:           

PO.CL13.01. Poster Session - Biomarkers 4: RTK/RAS Signaling


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

 Colles Price, M.S.

Colles Price, M.S., University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

My career goal is to be a principle investigator at a premier university and obtain a tenure position. I have had extensive experience being a teaching assistant and have found that I enjoy mentoring others. I plan to continue to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of cancer to better understand cancer initiation and progression. I want to continue my career in cancer biology and collaborate with clinicians and other principle investigators to have an impact in cancer research and how patients are treated. Furthermore, I want to help develop research that serves as inspiration and motivation to all students of color to help drive the newer generation to pursue research and increase diversity in science. Finally, in my career I want to do academic research that helps reduce the health disparity in the African-American population as well as reducing the total cancer burden worldwide.”

Abstract #6412

MiR-9 is an oncogenic microRNA specifically overexpressed in MLL-rearrangement leukemia.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB13.02. Poster Session - Long Noncoding RNAs in Cancer


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

 Stephanie R. Pulliam, B.S.

Stephanie R. Pulliam, B.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

 “Upon receiving my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, teaching and mentoring are my top priorities as I seek assistant professor positions in biology or biochemistry at a minority-serving institution. My long-term goal is to create a program to encourage minority students to pursue advanced studies in the biomedical sciences, in particular cancer health disparities.“

Abstract #6412

Regulation of AKT and p38 MAPK by high dose butyrate may influence inflammatory cytokine expression in human U937 leukemia cells.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB13.02. Poster Session - Long Noncoding RNAs in Cancer


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

 Diandra D. Randle, B.S.

Diandra D. Randle, B.S., Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

 “Upon receiving my Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, I will to continue my journey and return to my alma mater, Alabama A&M University, the second largest historically black university in Alabama. Teaching and mentoring are my top priority as I seek assistant professor or even tenure-track positions with biology or biochemistry as my focus. Additionally, one of the main issues facing the biology department at Alabama A&M is the lack of relationships between neighboring majority institutes and biomedical industries with Alabama A&M. It is my goal to create a program to bridge this gap to encourage minority students to pursue advanced studies in the biomedical sciences, in particular cancer research. To implement this, I plan to increase communications between industry and other academic institutions to increase opportunities for research internships and fellowships.”

Abstract #4575

Snail 1 regulates invasion through uPA-uPAR signaling using the MAPK pathway in prostate cancer cells.

Poster Session:           

PO.TB10.01. Poster Session - Cell Migration and Invasion 1


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

 Vito W. Rebecca, B.S.

Vito W. Rebecca, B.S., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL

“Upon graduation I plan to engage in postdoctoral research in cancer biology in preparation for a career in academia. I would like to work at historically black college or university as a professor of biology while maintaining a productive cancer biology lab.”

Abstract #2464

Exhaustion of autophagy-mediated cell survival underlies the pre-clinical and clinical activity of chemotherapy combined with the AKT inhibitor MK-2206 in BRAF wild-type melanoma.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB02.03. Poster Session - Autophagy and Cell Death


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

 Mónica Rivera-Díaz, B.S.

Mónica Rivera-Díaz, B.S., University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR

 “I will be at an academic institution or cancer center with the goal of developing new chemotherapeutic strategies for cancer. I am interested in working directly with communities affected by health disparities, to improve their health through education and prevention. I also want to develop pipeline programs for disadvantaged high school students, to expose them to career opportunities in research.”

Abstract #6358

MicroRNA expression profile of astrocytoma in archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded brain tumor samples.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB13.08. Poster Session - MicroRNA Regulatory Networks


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

 Andres Rojas, Ph.D.

Andres Rojas, Ph.D.,  UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

“The attendance to international scientific seminars like AACR’s, intramural talks and poster presentations have been key elements for the advancement and completion of my all my research projects. Participation in these events has provided me with the knowledge to develop new questions, novel approaches as well as collaborations with other scientists. I know without a doubt that attending to the 2013 AACR Annual Meeting will be a great opportunity not only to share our most recent findings, but also to expose myself to cutting-edge science from groups from all over the world. Being granted with the AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award, in addition to being a great honor, the award will also help me advance in my career and reach the goal of becoming an independent investigator in the near future.”

Abstract #5571

TGF-β drives tumor-progression via JAK/STAT3-signaling in advanced HCC.

Poster Session:           

PO.ET03.05. Poster Session - Combination Therapies and Novel Therapeutic Approaches


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

 Raysa Rosario Acevedo, B.S.

Raysa Rosario Acevedo, B.S., Universidad Central del Caribe- School of Medicine, Bayamón, PR

My long-term goal is to obtain my Ph.D. in molecular cell and biology. After obtaining my degree I plan to continue postdoctoral studies in order to expand my knowledge in breast cancer field. My ultimate career is to teach in any academic institution in relation to the area of molecular and cellular biology or work in industry on the development of novel targeted cancer therapeutics. My ultimate goal is to have my own laboratory where we can create new alternative therapies to help prolong life in cancer patients.”

Abstract # 7349, Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) induces autophagy in inflammatory breast cancer cells to promote cell death.

Abstract #5571

TGF-β drives tumor-progression via JAK/STAT3-signaling in advanced HCC.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB02.03. Poster Session – Autophagy and Cell Death


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

 Cheryl J. Smith, M.S.

Cheryl J. Smith, M.S., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

“Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. To train as an ABMG-certified clinical geneticist will allow me to have the clinical training to assay patient samples, and with my basic science research background, apply those techniques to uncover underlying mechanisms of various cancers. In addition, I want to apply emerging molecular technologies towards investigating cancer molecular genetics. To this end, my goal is to identify more biological markers. With these goals in mind, I want to direct programs that use personalized medicine to tailor a patient’s chemotherapy to treat cancer more effectively.”

Abstract #4846

Lymphomas associated with aberrant DNA rearrangements are suppressed by Mre11 mutation.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB08.02. Poster Session - DNA Damage and Mutations


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

 Bethany N. Smith, M.S.

Bethany N. Smith, M.S., Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

“The research and educational training goals of my current program comprise three very important areas: mentoring, professional development and participation during meetings and conferences. I have completed my required core courses and passed my comprehensive (qualifying) exam. I am committed to dedicating 100 percent of my effort to the planned activities. I meet weekly with Dr. Odero-Marah, my research advisor, to discuss my data and the design of the experiments. During our meetings, we also prepare for presentations I do for seminar courses, meetings and conferences. I also meet with my dissertation committee three times per calendar year to discuss the project and gain professional support.” 

Abstract #4414

Snail activation of MAPK pathway may contributes to tumor insensitivity to tamoxifen chemotherapy in breast cancer cells.

Poster Session:           

PO.TB04.08. Poster Session - Defining the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition 2


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

 Delisha A. Stewart, Ph.D.

Delisha A. Stewart, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

“My career objectives are to establish a multidisciplinary research program that incorporates development, genomics and molecular epidemiology for biomarker and therapeutic target identification, and evaluation of specific environmental factors that may contribute to the incidence-versus-mortality disparities in breast cancer. These research interests primarily focus on characterizing how inflammatory factors of the innate and adaptive immune systems converge to interact with the macro- or microenvironments to influence normal breast development and breast cancer progression toward metastasis. Additionally, I am committed to providing a collaborative atmosphere within which to engage my colleagues, while providing excellence in instruction, research experiences and professional development to students as they become confident and competent members of a global scientific community.”

Abstract #5766

Characterizing breast cancer subtype-specific responses to macrophages.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB01.07. Poster Session - Breast and Ovarian Cancer


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

 Ivette J. Suarez-Arroyo, B.S.

Ivette J. Suarez-Arroyo, B.S., Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, Bayamon, PR

In the long term, my specific goals are to complete my Ph.D. degree and continue postdoctoral studies in the breast cancer field. My two primary reasons for continuing to advance my professional development are (a) to prepare myself to become a leader in molecular biology and breast cancer field, and (b) to develop novel anticancer therapeutic agents. My major long-term goal is to direct my own cancer research laboratory.”

Abstract #7204

Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) downregulates key proteins overexpressed in IBC and chemosensitizes EGFR-overexpressing cells to erlotinib.

Poster Session:           

PO.CH01.01. Poster Session - Natural Products


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

 Shaniece C. Theodore, B.S.

Shaniece C. Theodore, B.S., Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

After completion of my Ph.D. in integrative bioscienes, my educational and training goal is to pursue a postdoctoral position in the field of cancer research. This would allow me to further sharpen my skills and prepare me for the independence that is necessary to succeed in the scientific world. Recently, I've decided that I would like to pursue a MPH with a focus in epidemiology at some point in the near future. My goal is to eventually conduct research that is heavily focused on cancer health disparities both from the standpoint of molecular biology as well as prevention research.”

Abstract #1339

MicroRNA expression profiling in African American and Caucasian prostate cancer.

Poster Session:           

PO.MCB13.04. Poster Session - MicroRNA Networks and Regulation


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