AACR Early-career Hill Day
AACR Early-career Hill Day is an annual event that brings a group
of AACR Associate members to Washington, D.C., to advocate for robust,
sustained and predictable funding for cancer research and biomedical science
through the NIH and the NCI, on behalf of early-career cancer researchers. Over
the course of over 30 congressional visits during a single day, participants
are able to stress how important it is to invest in the future of cancer
research and provide their own personal perspectives as the investigators whose
careers may be most impacted by the support of this essential funding.
Accompanying them in a mentoring capacity is an established investigator from
the AACR Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee. This event is an
important opportunity for the AACR’s Associate members to engage in advocacy at
the federal level and educate lawmakers on the progress and promise in cancer
In addition to receiving advocacy training in advance of the event, all participants will have the opportunity to hear from a NCI/NIH representative and a member of Congress, and/or his/her legislative staff, about the current state of biomedical research funding within the United States. On the day of the Hill visits, participants will be divided into groups to meet face-to-face with Senators and House representatives and/or their key staff member(s). Each group will attend four or five meetings on both sides of Capitol Hill, throughout the event. During each meeting, participants will have the opportunity to share first-hand stories about the impact of cancer research funding on their career and how cancer may have personally touched their life or that of a loved one. #AACRECRontheHill
National Day of Action
And, while there is always
a limited number of spaces to attend the AACR Early-career Hill day in-person,
there is still an opportunity for people to get involved from anywhere
within the United States at the same time that the participants are on Capitol
Hill. The AACR encourages all investigators to join-in a day-wide movement, the
National Day of Action, to reinforce the messages of their colleagues on
the Hill by contacting their congressional representatives and senators to urge
Congressional leaders to support robust, sustained and predictable funding
increases for the National Institutes of Health. It only takes a few minutes to
send an email and/or call your congressional representative and senators, and
your voice can greatly help advance and ensure maximum impact of our message to
AACR Early-career Hill Day Participants Spotlight
"In my opinion, some of the biggest issues facing cancer research include the need to investigate resistance to chemotherapies as well as cancer disparities. Often, it has been reported that minorities, especially African-Americans, succumb to cancer at double or even triple the rate of their majority counterparts. In addition, there is a need for more minorities in the field of cancer research as well as cancer institutes and clinics amongst those populations. As Americans, it is important to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, especially in the health sciences. I feel that is is imperative, as the U.S. population is becoming more diverse, that we address the needs and concerns facing minorities as it relates to cancer disparities. This could further give way to new avenues of improved precision medicine that could then benefit the United States as a whole."
AACR Early-career Hill Day Participants
Patricia LoRusso, DO, PhD (hc)
Yale Cancer Center
Dr. LoRusso is the senior scientist mentor for the AACR Early-career Hill Day and a member of the AACR Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee. Dr. LoRusso is widely-regarded as a leading expert on developing new cancer drugs through clinical trials. She has more than 25 years of expertise in medical oncology, drug development, and early phase clinical trials. Prior to her Yale appointment, she served in numerous leadership roles at Wayne State University’s Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute, most recently as director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics.
Kilan C. Ashad-Bishop, PhD
University of Miami
Dr. Ashad-Bishop is a molecular biologist and environmental justice advocate. She earned her PhD in cancer biology from the University of Miami and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Morgan State University. Her dissertation research focused on characterizing the functional role of genetic factors in triple negative breast cancer development and progression. Ms. Ashad-Bishop currently works at National Academy of the Sciences as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow.
Victoria Aveson, MD
Weill Cornell Medical College, New York-Presbyterian
Dr. Aveson received her MD from the University of Pittsburgh and is completing her general surgery residency at Weill-Cornell Medical College. She is currently the Min Kao Research fellow in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her research focuses on the epigenetics of pancreatic cancer initiation and clinical outcomes in pancreatic cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Brittany Avin, BS
John Hopkins University School of Medicine
Ms. Avin is a PhD candidate in the department of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She studies human telomerase reverse transcriptase regulation in thyroid cancer and was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award for her work.
Jordan Baechle, BS
Meharry Medical College
Mr. Baechle is a second-year medical student at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and pursuing a path towards surgical oncology. His previous research experience spans various stages of drug development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) where he is currently engaged in tumor resection clinical outcomes analysis. Primary interests focus on cancer health disparities as well as internal and external metabolic interactions in tumor microenvironment.
Renee de Leeuw, PhD
University of Illinois at Chicago
Dr. de Leeuw's graduate training at the Netherlands Cancer Institute focused on tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. In her postdoctoral studies at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, she investigated how the RB tumor suppressor can be leveraged to define therapy for advanced prostate cancer patients. Her goal is to develop novel biomarkers and treatment strategies that will improve disease outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer.
Ahmed Diab, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Dr. Diab received his PhD in cancer biology from Purdue University. At Purdue, he was awarded a Chateaubriand fellowship from the French government allowing him to study hepatitis B virus-mediated oncogenesis at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Lyon, France. Currently, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington. His research investigates viral oncogene-induced replication stress and cell cycle deregulation in head and neck cancer.
Francis Enane, PhD
Indiana University School of Medicine
Dr. Enane received his BS in biotechnology from Purdue University and a PhD in molecular medicine from Cleveland Clinic's Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. He is pursuing his postdoctoral training in translational research and entrepreneurship from Indiana University School of Medicine. His research investigates mechanisms of differentiation alterations in cancer cells and the epigenetic changes contributing to differentiation impairments. His goal is to develop epigenetic therapies that promote cell differentiation to terminate cancer growth.
Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
Dr. Holowatyj obtained her PhD in cancer biology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. Since 2017, she has been an NIH/NHGRI T32 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA postdoctoral fellow in genomic medicine at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the University of Utah. She is also a Susan Cooper Jones endowed postdoctoral fellow in cancer research at HCI, and obtained her MS in clinical investigation at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her current research focuses on unraveling etiologies underlying: young-onset cancers, energy balance and tumor-adipose crosstalk, and cancer health disparities.
Sunil K. Joshi, BA
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
Mr. Joshi is a student in Oregon Health and Science University's Medical Scientist Training Program and is pursuing his thesis research in Dr. Brian J. Druker's laboratory with Drs. Cristina E. Tognon and Elie Traer serving as co-mentors. His research focuses on characterizing transforming mutations that potentially drive acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and examining the role of the AML microenvironment in the relapse of AML.
Andrew Kelly, PhD
Temple University School of Medicine
Dr. Kelly is an MD/PhD candidate at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His research focuses on epigenetic defects in acute myeloid leukemia, and how clinical information can be gleaned from cancer specific DNA methylation patterns. After completing the MD/PhD program and graduate medical training, he plans to practice as a medical oncologist while conducting translational cancer research. He is also supports initiatives to help uninsured or underinsured cancer patients access cutting-edge treatments and clinical trials.
Kimiko L. Krieger, BS
UNMC Eppley Cancer Center
Ms. Krieger is a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she is a fifth year student in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer. Her research involves studying protein-protein interactions of BRCT-domain containing proteins and their roles in the DNA damage response in breast cancer. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in health policy, primarily focusing on cancer prevention and the development of research and community outreach initiatives in her community. She is originally from the suburbs of Atlanta—come meet her at Annual Meeting 2019!
Wayne Lawrence, MPH
University at Albany School of Public Health
Mr. Lawrence is a presidential doctoral fellow and doctoral candidate at the University at Albany. His research focuses on the field of cancer epidemiology, with an emphasis on minority and underserved populations. Throughout his graduate education, his research integrated epidemiological, biological, environmental, and behavioral approaches to understand cancer disparities across the continuum of care. Currently, he is a graduate research assistant at New York State Department Health utilizing a cancer registry-medicaid linkage to investigate potential risk factors contributing to racial disparities in breast cancer survival in New York State.
Kevin Miller, BS
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
Mr. Miller is a third-year medical student in the MD/MS program at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. He spent a year outside the medical school curriculum investigating novel treatments for multiple myeloma with Dr. Shaji Kumar in the Division of Hematology. He is interested in pursuing a residency in internal medicine, followed by subspecialty training in hematology/oncology at a top cancer institute.
Soo Park, MD
University of California, San Diego
Dr. Park is an advanced hematology fellow at the University of California, San Diego, where she also completed a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology in June 2018. She is currently supported by an American Society of Hematology Research Training Award for Fellows. Her current research is focused on utilizing new advances in next-generation sequencing approaches to study epigenetic biology in myeloid neoplasms. She has a strong interest in academic medicine, including research, clinical care, and medical education, and is passionate about advocacy for long-term commitments to cancer research funding.
Ana S. Salazar, MD, MPHS
Washington University in St. Louis
Hillary Stires, PhD
Georgetown University Medical Center
Dr. Stires is a postdoc at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center under the mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Riggins, where her research focuses on endocrine resistance in breast cancer. She re-established Georgetown's Postdoc Association and she will chair the Hormone-Dependent Cancers Gordon Research Seminar during August 2019. She is passionate about improving communication and sharing information about cancer diagnoses, treatments, and research.
Reflection from Past Participants
"This event was a tremendous occasion as it trained me and my fellow early-career bench scientists in how to take our story and message to Capitol Hill. As a biomedical scientist, I have been trained in the responsibilities in the laboratory. But I also see the great value in being a 'civic' scientist. Each and every one of us has a part to play in bridging the gap between science and society." - Lee D. Gibbs, BS
“This year's AACR Early-career Hill Day was a valuable learning experience for me. I gained unique insight into the legislative environment that directly influences funding for biomedical research, and realized that fostering dialogue between young scientists and policymakers is highly important. Through my meetings with congressional offices, I was encouraged to learn that legislators are aware and concerned about the exceptionally competitive funding situation being faced by researchers, and are working towards alleviating this problem by increasing the NIH budget.” - Jennifer C. Shing, PhD
"My driving passion is in making an impact on cancer and I can now appreciate that science policy and legislation is a powerful avenue to do that.” - Eric C. Woolf, MS
Additional information about the AACR Early-career Hill Day as well as photos can be found on Twitter via #AACRECRontheHill and #AACRAMC.
Any questions or concerns should be directed to