Current Cancer Prevention Fellows Dr. Samira Brooks and Dr. Esmeralda Ramirez-Peña have been selected by the SMDP Biotech Selection Committee as Scholars for the “2020 Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program for Biotechnology (SMDP Biotech)”. Promoted by the International Center for Professional Development (ICPD), this 1-year career mentoring program pairs ethnically diverse students and early career researchers with industry mentors who work at biotechnology, consumer healthcare, and medical technology companies.
Dr. Brooks’ and Dr. Ramirez-Peña’s mentors will be chosen by the ICPD from a pool of leaders in the biotech field. Each Fellow and her mentor will attend a week-long training session and develop a Personalized Mentoring Plan designed to help her transition to a career in the biotech field. They will receive monthly mentoring support, as well as complimentary registration to attend a major industry-specific conference.
Dr. Brooks’ goal is “to emerge from this training fully versed in the intersections of translational research and industry to continue to make scientific advances to improve our understanding of disease for advancing prevention, detection, and treatment.” In NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, Dr. Brooks receives mentorship from Dr. W. Marston Linehan, Chief of the Urologic Oncology Branch. There, she leads an interdisciplinary study that is investigating mechanisms in cancer-associated reprogramming of iron metabolism in individuals that express a distinct mutation in Ferroportin.
Dr. Ramirez-Peña is working with population and clinical trial level data from breast cancer patients and conducting research in both the Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Research Group in the Division of Cancer Prevention and the Surveillance Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control & Population Sciences. During her SMDP mentoring year, Dr. Ramirez-Peña hopes “to learn from professionals in different sectors of the pharmaceutical industry and create a network where I can bridge my research with clinical impact.”