American Association for Cancer Research

2012 Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholars in Cancer Research Awards

Tiffany Ardley

Tiffany W. Ardley, Ph.D., Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy, Tallahassee, FL

“My long range goal is to direct a cancer research center at my institution. We have many researchers in various disciplines doing cancer research and it would be great to have everyone under one umbrella to strengthen collaborations both within and outside of the university.”

Abstract 3903: Synthesis of substituted N-{4-[(2-hydroxyethyl)sulfanyl]-3,6-dihydropyridin-1(2h)-yl} benzamide/benzenesulfonamide as anti-inflamatory and anticancer agents

Zhenbang Chen

Zhenbang Chen, Ph.D., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“My goals are 1) to develop a highly competitive molecular oncology laboratory at Meharry Medical College; 2) to identify molecular factors contributing to cancer disparities; and 3) to elucidate molecular mechanisms of prostate progression and develop novel therapy for prostate cancer control.”

Mahavir Chougule

Mahavir B. Chougule, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy, Hilo, HI

“The long-term goal is to continue teaching; to establish the extramurally funded cancer research program; to develop platform targeted nanoparticles for cancer treatment; and to involve pharmacy students in cancer research. Professional advancement by achieving tenure and promotion at college to continue my service.”

Abstract 5644: Targeted nanocarriers of siRNA for the treatment of cancer

Laronna Colbert

Laronna S. Colbert, M.D., Morehouse School of Medicine, Decatur, GA

“I have a keen interest in the impact of obesity on the pathogenesis of breast cancer. I wish to further explore the relationship between obesity, inflammation and the pathogenesis of triple-negative breast cancer in African-American women. Additionally, I would like to identify and categorize specific genetic mutations responsible for the differences in the tumor microenvironment between ethnic groups. My long-range career goal is to become an independent investigator at an academic institution.”

Abstract 80: Differential expression of NILCO reveals pathogenesis of human breast cancer

Oswald D'Auvergne

Oswald D'Auvergne, Ph.D., Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA

“With assistance and participation from LSU, I would like to explore the possibility of submitting a health disparity proposal on infectious disease research and/or cancer in the near future. I am hoping to form a regional alliance including regional hospitals, clinics, etc., to address infectious diseases.”

Abstract 280: Genetics and functions of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpes virus (KSHV) glycoproteins in virion egress, infectivity and tumorigenesis

Sakina Eltom

Sakina E. Eltom, D.V.M., Ph.D., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“My long-range career objective is to establish myself as a successful oncologist and to provide excellent training for future cancer researchers. My research goals include establishing a better understanding of the role of gene-environment interaction as a contributing risk factor to the high incidence of breast cancer in pre-menopausal African and African-American women.”

Abstract 698: Overexpression of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor correlates with high tumor grade in human breast invasive carcinomas

Tamar Ginossar

Tamar Ginossar, Ph.D., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

“My research goals are to continue my research with minority communities, to receive further federally-funded research grants to support this research, and to continue to mentor medical, premedical, undergraduate and graduate students on cancer communication research.” 

Shanchun Guo

Shanchun Guo, Ph.D., Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

“The goal of my study is to investigate the significance of targeting leptin signaling in human breast cancer stem cells. The ultimate goal is to develop novel interventions for human breast cancer based on targeting leptin signaling and its intermediary effect molecules. This will allow us improving the clinical outcome of breast cancer patients. As a scientist, I have dedicated my career to the research for eradicating breast cancer.”

Abstract 5297: Autocrine stimulation of VEGFR-2 by leptin is associated with Notch signaling pathway and cancer stem cell marker expression

Cimona Hinton

Cimona V. Hinton, Ph.D., Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

“My long-range goal is to apply our studies to tumor characteristics, manifestations, management, treatment and their relationship with predisposing factors to metastatic cancer. I would like my research to provide novel tumor markers for metastatic cells, and identify mechanisms in antagonizing CXCR4 in cancer cell migration.”

Abstract 538: ROS Differentially Regulates Prostate Cancer Cell Survival

Offiong Ikpatt

Offiong F. Ikpatt, M.D., Ph.D., University of Miami, Miramar, FL

“My goals are 1) Establish different immunological responses to breast cancers among women of different races hoping that such may be used in treatment strategy; 2) Identify serum proteins that will aid early diagnosis in women of color and those that can reflect the biological differences in breast cancers of women of different ethnicities; 3) Study influence of environment and type of breast fat on breast carcinogenesis” 

Efe Iyamu 

Efe Williams Iyamu, M.D., Ph.D., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“As a physician scientist, my long-range objective is to continue in research relevant to colorectal cancer chemoprevention. Also, an active research in the area of health care disparity is of great interest to me. I also plan to further my training in gastroenterology or oncology in order to consolidate my clinical/research enterprise in colorectal cancer chemoprevention and hopefully obtain an RO1 and a tenure track faculty position in the process.”

Abstract 1627: Chloroquine-induced inhibition of Arginase-1 promotes the nuclear localization of p53 in colon cancer cell lines

Kimberly Jackson

Kimberly M. Jackson, Ph.D., Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

“I would like to continue empowering and training women of color to do dynamic science in cancer therapeutics. I will continue to focus on drug discovery for advanced prostate cancer. I anticipate receiving more grant funding, achieving full professorship and bringing more visibility to Spelman.”

Khosrow Kashfi

Khosrow Kashfi, Ph.D., City University of New York Medical School, New York, NY

“I love teaching, so I hope to continue in that capacity for years to come. We have developed some new and exciting compounds that are extremely potent against various cancer cell lines and in mouse xenograft models, yet they have very limited toxicity. I would like to see at least one these compounds make it to the clinic.”

Abstract 3899: NOSH compounds: Nitric oxide- and hydrogen sulfide-releasing hybrids, a new class of anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals

Dae Joon Kim

Dae Joon Kim, Ph.D., UTHSC at San Antonio, Edinburg, TX

“The ultimate goal of my research is to understand the functional role of protein tyrosine phosphatases in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of environmentally-induced carcinogenesis and develop novel potential therapeutic approaches for the prevention of cancer.”

Abstract 2537: UVB irradiation induces nuclear translocation of TC-PTP in keratinocytes

Lilia Kucheryavykh

Lilia Kucheryavykh, Ph.D., University Central del Caribe, Bayamon, PR

“My long-term professional goal is to develop an active research program in neuroscience with a focus on the role of the tumor environment on glioma dispersal and proliferation. My research goal is to develop expertise in the area of cancer biology as it relates to glioma dispersal and proliferation.”

Abstract 318: Microglia promote glioma cell migration through a Pyk2 signaling pathway

Nazarius Lamango

Nazarius Lamango, Ph.D., College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL

“My goals are: 1) Establish the role of PMPMEase in cancers; 2) validate its effectiveness as a therapeutic target for cancers with no current effective therapies e.g. triple-negative breast cancer, pancreatic and lung cancers; 3) design, synthesize and evaluate specific PMPMEase inhibitors as potential anticancer drugs.”

Abstract 1843: Overexpression of polyisoprenylated methylated protein methyl esterase in triple-negative breast cancer

TinChung Leung

TinChung Leung, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC

“My career goal is to develop a competitive and fundable research program to determine the mechanisms by which signaling molecules guide and pattern vascular networks during angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessel) that will provide insight for cardiovascular diseases and to combat cancers.”

Abstract 4255: Natural Product Ginger Promotes Hematopoietic Recovery

Magaly Martinez-Ferrer

Magaly Martinez-Ferrer, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Juan, PR

“My long-term goal is to build a urology research program that will combine basic science and collaborations with clinicians in order to understand the role of chemokines and inflammatory molecules in prostate cancer progression and metastasis.”

Abstract 590: Andrographolide suppresses prostate cancer cell migration and alters the expression of vimentin, ZO-1 and MMP-11

Amosy M'koma

Amosy E. M'Koma, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“Colorectal cancer (CRC) kills thousands of people in the US every year. The greatest promise for cancer prevention in IBD-r-CRC, the purpose of my lab, lies largely in expanding our knowledge of the molecular pathogenetic relationships between neoplasia and chronic inflammation pathways, which may aid in prevention and create new personalized therapeutic options for CRC.”

Abstract 2058: Macrophage engulfment of erythrocytes releases free heme iron, a possible transforming factor in ulcerative colitis-related colorectal cancer

Shane Young Morita

Shane Young Morita, M.D., University of Hawaii/ The Queen's Medical Center, Honolulu, HI

“Investigate ethnic disparities in minority populations pertaining to melanoma and thyroid cancer that are prevalent in Hawaii. I would like to increase awareness of under-studied groups such as native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Filipinos to the rest of the scientific community”

Abstract 3591: Triple-negative (c-KIT, BRAF, NRAS) acral lentiginous melanoma in Hawaii: Molecular profiling in a multi-ethnic population

Valerie Odero-Marah

Valerie Odero-Marah, Ph.D., Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

“My long-range career objectives would be to become the expert in Snail transcription factor signaling in prostate cancer as well as an expert in the EMT field. Another goal is to move into the field of health disparity, and as such our cancer center is collecting African-American tissue that will be available to us. My ultimate goal is to focus on the biology behind metastasis in African-American prostate cancer patients.”

Abstract 5332: Snail transcription factor contributes to prostate cancer tumor progression via reactive oxygen species and Rac1 activation

Yvette Paulino

Yvette C. Paulino, Ph.D., University of Guam, Mangilao, GU

“My research goal is to help reduce cancer and other health disparities in Guam and neighboring islands in Micronesia. Populations in this region of the world were underrepresented in cancer research for many years. As I build on my current research, I hope to one day get populations in this region represented in long-term epidemiologic studies, such as a cohort, to better understand the cancer health disparities.”

Carlos Perez-Stable

Carlos Perez-Stable, Ph.D., University of Miami VA Medical Center, Miami, FL

“My long-range career objectives are to maintain a productive laboratory in the prostate cancer field, publish quality papers in high impact journals, receive consistent grant funding, be promoted to research professor, and continue mentoring young minority students in their careers.”

Abstract 4679: Betulinic acid inhibits deubiquitinases to increase the degradation of pro-survival proteins and enhance prostate cancer specific apoptosis

James Raynor

James E. Raynor, Ph.D., Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC

“My long-range career objectives are to continue teaching and conducting biomedical research at a minority-serving institution. I have been a faculty member at FSU for the past 16 years.”

Checo Rorie

Checo J. Rorie, Ph.D., North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC

“My long range career goal is to obtain tenure and continue to run a laboratory training young scientists. I hope to encourage many young minorities to enter the field of cancer research in order to offer spective and some new ideas to try and win the war on cancer. I am very interested in adding to the valuable field of breast cancer research from a health disparities point of view.”

Abstract 4908: The Apoptotic Response of the Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line HCC1806 to Chemotherapeutics

Pothana Saikumar

Pothana Saikumar, Ph.D., UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

“My long-term career goals are to obtain tenured full professorship and establish a strong cancer research program. My research goals are to establish the value of TMEPAI as a predictive marker for TGF-β oncogenicity and develop effective drugs that target TGF-β signaling with the ability to inactivate only the tumor promoting “oncogenic” activity of TGF-β while still preserving or even enhancing its tumor suppressive functions.” 

Amos Sakwe

Amos M. Sakwe, Ph.D., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

“My ultimate career goal is to better understand how cancer-induced hypercalcemia disparately influences cancer progression and metastasis. Specifically this will lead to 1) the identification of the key regulated genes/pathways for prognosis and early diagnosis; and 2) to subsequently modulate the effects chemotherapeutically. My short-term career objectives include to constitute a research team and to acquire more funding to sustainably pursue this overlooked discipline in cancer research.”

Abstract 5313: Sustained hypercalcemia primes non-invasive breast cancer cells for metastasis to high calcium microenvironments

Rajesh Singh

Rajesh Singh, Ph.D., Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

“My research objectives are to understand the role of chemokines and their receptors in tumor progression and potential role of inflammation in tumor development and progression using in vitro and in vivo models. My long-term objective is to develop delivery of natural compounds and therapeutic drugs using nanotechnology.”

Abstract 3649: Expression of CXCR5 and its natural ligand CXCL13 in ovarian cancer

Shailesh Singh

Shailesh Singh, Ph.D., Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

“My research objectives are to define the role of chemokines in cancer metastasis as well as developing strategies directed chemokine to inhibit metastasis and enhance chemotherapeutic efficacy. Additionally, ongoing research in my laboratory involves defining the role of innate and adoptive immune system in prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. We are developing methods to overcome tumor-induced immune suppression using natural products to treat/prevent cancer.”

Abstract 586: Withaferin-A inhibits prostate tumor growth by enhancing anti-tumor immune response

Rajeshwar Rao Tekmal

Rajeshwar Rao Tekmal, Ph.D., UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Abstract 5753: Potential therapeutic use of ER beta modulators in treating endocrine therapy resistant breast cancers

Marta Torroella-Kouri

Marta Torroella-Kouri, Ph.D., University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL

“My research goal is to get RO1 funding and become established in this important area of obesity, inflammation and cancer. Particularly breast and colorectal cancers are highly impacted by obesity and present with worse prognosis in minority populations.”

Abstract 398: Tumor microenvironment imposes major alterations and profoundly shapes functional status of macrophages: peritoneal and tumor-associated macrophages from tumor hosts are two very different subpopulations

Pablo Vivas-Mejia

Pablo E. Vivas-Mejía, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Juan, PR

“My ultimate goal is to become a productive, independent investigator able to obtain continuous funding to support my own research program.”

Abstract 1105: MicroRNAs and their targets genes promote cisplatin resistance in epithelial ovarian cancer cells

Leslie Wooten-Blanks

Leslie G. Wooten-Blanks, Ph.D., Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

“My long-range career goal is to become an established full professor here at Claflin Univ. I enjoy and prefer the atmosphere at a PUI and HBCU. For research, I would like to continue in the study of telomerase but expand it to study any differential expressions in races.” 

Huan Xie

Huan Xie, Ph.D., Texas Southern University, Houston, TX

“My long-term career goal is to implement the knowledge and skills I have gained from my previous industrial experiences into my academic position and become a successful translational investigator for pharmaceutics, nanotechnology and cancer research. New therapies and drugs will be developed to improve current cancer treatments and reduce cancer health disparities. I also plan to strengthen the Pharm.D. and Ph.D. programs at Texas Southern University by actively engaging in current research, bringing more cutting-edge information and applying more versatile styles into the classroom.”

Abstract 2889: Development of a Novel Nanoconstruct for Tumor Hypoxia Photothermal Therapy

XiaoHe Yang

XiaoHe Yang, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC

“My long-range career goal is to establish a rigorous cancer research laboratory focusing on breast cancer etiology and prevention. We aim to accomplish high-impact studies and train future minority cancer research scholars as well. We will continue our current projects with novel mechanistic insight.”

Abstract 548: Erythropoietin promotes mammary tumor development in MMTV-erbB-2 transgenic mice

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