Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Award to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Award to Promote Diversity and Inclusion represents a focused effort to encourage and support investigators from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in the cancer-related sciences workforce and to foster their career advancement. 

2021 grantees

Kimberley Lee, MD, MHS

Kimberley Lee, MD, MHS

Assistant Member 
Moffitt Cancer Center 
Tampa, Florida 
The role of adjuvant endocrine therapy in racial disparities in survival 

Research
Black women continue to experience worse survival outcomes from breast cancer compared to other racial groups. Hormone-receptor positive breast cancer can require long-term treatment with post-operative endocrine therapy. To experience the full survival benefits of endocrine therapy treatment, it must be initiated, adhered to, and taken daily for 5 to 10 years (endocrine therapy pathway). Dr. Lee and her group will investigate how the entire endocrine therapy pathway influences outcomes, and identify multi-level risk factors for non-adherence to each step of the endocrine therapy pathway. They are set to use a mixed-methods approach combining population level real world data and qualitative interviews with Black breast cancer survivors to understand barriers to the pathway.

Biography
Dr. Lee is an assistant member in the Departments of Breast Oncology and Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center. She received her MD and MHS in general epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, she completed a medical oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on how individual and systems-level factors contribute to disparities in health outcomes for people with breast cancer. Her goal is to develop multi-level interventions to address risk factors for poor outcomes, ultimately leading to greater health equity and improved outcomes for all.

Acknowledgment of Support
I am honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2021 Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Award to Promote Diversity and Inclusion. This award will help establish my research career, providing opportunity and support to conduct my research in breast cancer disparities.

Joshua Saldivar, PhD

Joshua Saldivar, PhD

Assistant Professor 
Oregon Health & Science University 
Portland, Oregon 
Oncogenic ATR signaling during MYC-induced reprogramming in breast cancer 

Research
Breast cancer stem cells can emerge as a result of MYC-induced reprogramming of committed cell types (such as luminal epithelial cells in the mammary duct). Emerging evidence points to the role of super-enhancers in this reprogramming. The transcriptional coactivator Mediator links super-enhancers to target promoters within large transcription hubs and promotes MYC activity at super-enhancers, suggesting that Mediator facilitates reprogramming. Dr. Saldivar has uncovered an unexpected link between large transcription hubs and ATR, a replication stress-response kinase that is needed for MYC-driven cancers. His group will use a combination of time-lapse confocal imaging and single-cell sequencing to uncover a potential oncogenic role of ATR signaling within these hubs during MYC-induced reprogramming and breast cancer stem cell emergence.

Biography
Dr. Saldivar received his PhD at Ohio State University, where he studied the origins of genomic instability in premalignant cells. He completed his postdoctoral work at Stanford University, where he uncovered a cell cycle checkpoint pathway controlling the S to G2 transition. He is currently an assistant professor in the Division of Oncological Sciences and a member of the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University. His lab studies the mechanisms driving reprogramming in the early stages of cancer.

Acknowledgment of Support
I am deeply honored to be selected as a recipient of the 2021 Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Award to Promote Diversity and Inclusion. As an early career investigator, this award will enable me to conduct research focused on the mechanisms of oncogenic reprogramming in breast cancer.