In This Section

Career Discussions


Organized by the Associate Member Council (AMC), Career Discussions are informal networking and discussion opportunities during which early-career researchers meet with recently transitioned physician-scientist and junior faculty/equivalent to obtain advice for career transition and professional success. 


Did you participate in a virtual Professional Advancement Session during Week II of the AACR Annual Meeting?
Did you watch the sessions on demand? If so, don’t forget to complete the session evaluation and share your feedback with us! Your input will help us shape additional professional development-related sessions and programming. The session evaluation links are located within the session descriptions.

In Transition: From Early-career Researcher to Leader  

Thursday, May 20, 11:45 am-12:30 pm

During the session speakers will provide early-career researchers with advice and guidance on ways they can become recognized as leaders within their field and within their current position (either academia or other). Share your feedback!

Participating Speakers

Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS

Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Nashville, Tennessee

Dr. Andreana N. Holowatyj is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). Dr. Holowatyj obtained her PhD in Medicine/Cancer Biology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Karmanos Cancer Institute as a Susan G. Komen Graduate Training in Disparities Research Fellow. She then became an NIH/NHGRI T32 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in Genomic Medicine, as well as the Huntsman Cancer Institute Susan Cooper Jones Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Research at the University of Utah, where Dr. Holowatyj also obtained her MS in Clinical Investigation at the School of Medicine.  

At Vanderbilt, Dr. Holowatyj’s research program and laboratory is centered upon the rising burden of gastrointestinal cancers among young patients (etiology/biology, health disparities, and survivorship) by uniquely synergizing epidemiologic and basic sciences laboratory approaches. Presently, Dr. Holowatyj serves on: the Board of Directors for the Young Adult Cancers Initiative at VICC, the Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Expert Panel for the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Working Group within the FightCRC Advocacy Organization, and on the Associate Member Council of the NCI Cohort Consortium. 

Chirag B. Patel, MD, PhD

Chirag B. Patel, MD, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology (Neuro-Oncology Division) and Radiology (Molecular Imaging Program)

Stanford University

Palo Alto, California

Chirag Patel is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the departments of neurology and radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. His laboratory studies the biology of glioblastoma. With the hope of improving outcomes for patients with brain tumors, his lab investigates new forms of therapy to determine their efficacy in biomimetic pre-clinical models. His translational and clinical research focuses on improving delivery of chemotherapy to brain tumors, particularly by using electric fields. He received BS/MSE degrees in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and MD/PhD degrees from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and University of Texas at Houston John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School. He completed adult neurology training at UCLA followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in multimodal molecular imaging and clinical fellowship in neuro-oncology at Stanford. He is the recipient of an AACR-Novocure Career Development Award for Tumor Treating Fields Research and institutional grants from the Stanford Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging, Stanford SPARK Program, and Stanford Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.

Careers and Collaborations in Academia and Industry

Thursday, May 20, 1:05 pm-1:45 pm

During this session, speakers will address how to initiate and establish a successful collaboration, differences between these approaches for academia and industry, how to identify and avoid red flags for bad collaborations, and how to deal with unsuccessful collaborations. The industry speaker will also address their career industry. Share your feedback!


Priscilla Brastianos, MD

Priscilla Brastianos, MD

Associate Professor and Director, Central Nervous System Metastasis Center

Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, Massachusetts

Originally from Vancouver, BC, Dr. Priscilla Brastianos completed her medical school and internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and fellowship training in hematology/oncology and neuro-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is now director of the Central Nervous System Metastasis Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and leads a multi-R01-funded laboratory. Dr. Brastianos’ research focuses on understanding the genomic mechanisms that drive primary and metastatic brain tumors. She has lead studies which have identified novel therapeutic targets in brain tumors. She has more than 125 scientific publications and has translated her scientific findings to national multicenter trials. She also leads a multidisciplinary central nervous system metastasis clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She has received a number of awards for her work including a ‘NextGen Star’ award by the American Association for Cancer Research, a Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award, a Breast Cancer Research Foundation Award, a Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Award, and the American Brain Tumor Association Joel Gingras Award.

Francis Hunter, PhD

Francis Hunter, PhD

Senior Scientist

Janssen Research & Development

Spring House, Pennsylvania

Dr. Hunter is a Senior Scientist in the Discovery Sciences organization of Janssen Research & Development. He is responsible for leading oncology small molecule discovery and supporting novel therapeutic development from conception to approval. Prior to joining Janssen, Dr. Hunter led an academic research program in functional genomics and cellular pharmacology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he remains an adjunct member of faculty.