Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn Selected for NIH’s Office of Intramural Research Independent Research Scholar Program
October 22, 2019
In September 2019, CPFP alum Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn joined the Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch within the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Intramural Research (OIR) Independent Research Scholar Program. The mission of the Independent Research Scholar Program is to build the workforce diversity of independent research scientists. The program aims to achieve this goal by supporting participants with funding and mentorship as they become highly competitive for tenure-track Investigator positions.
Independent research scholars, in consultation with their mentors, design research proposals and career development plans with milestones to be achieved during their time in the program. Dr. Davis Lynn, with her co-mentors Drs. Gretchen Gierach and Monstserrat García-Closas, will develop a research program that utilizes cutting-edge statistical methodology, leverages existing data, and builds new resources to better understand breast cancer risk in minority women. To this end, she plans to utilize descriptive studies to monitor trends, risk factor modeling to generate risk profiles, and molecular and genetic epidemiology studies to elucidate potential mechanisms of early breast cancer progression, with the hopes of better understanding differences in breast cancer risk by race.
The research program and skills that Brittny has developed with support from her DCEG mentors and the CPFP has prepared her for the Independent Research Scholar position. “The CPFP provided me with formal training via the M.P.H. and protected research time to transition to the field of breast cancer epidemiology. The fellowship also provided opportunities for professional development and technical training that built upon the strong foundation I received during the M.P.H. to further develop my transition to an early-career investigator. Overall, the fellowship was very supportive of my pursuit of leadership activities, development of my scientific research program, and my commitment to diversity.”
CPFP Alumna, Dr. Alexandra J. Greenberg-Worisek, Appointed to Education Leadership Roles at Mayo Clinic
September 18, 2019
Since joining the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) as a Research Associate and Assistant Professor in 2016, CPFP alumna Dr. Alexandra J. Greenberg-Worisek has been nominated and appointed to various leadership roles within the academic medical center. Dr. Greenberg-Worisek strongly believes that her experience through the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, with mentors Drs. Bradford Hesse (Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch) and Dr. Ashley Wilder Smith (Outcomes Research Branch) in the NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, prepared her well for these roles so early in her career.
In 2017, Greenberg-Worisek was appointed as Director for Education and Training within the FDA-funded Yale-Mayo Center for Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI). In this role, she works with colleagues at Mayo and Yale to develop regulatory science-focused education and scholarship efforts for individuals who are both early- and late-career. Her work with CERSI involves curriculum development, small grants announcements and management, and content delivery.
Also nominated and appointed as Associate Director for Graduate Curriculum within the CCaTS in 2018, Dr. Greenberg-Worisek works with the Director of Curriculum to determine gaps in curriculum, recruit faculty to develop and teach the needed content, and provide support to both scholars and faculty in educational programs as the coursework is delivered and evaluated. The position also requires continual review to ensure course content and pedagogical methods meet the needs of scholars and match the competencies set forth by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS). For these efforts, Dr. Greenberg-Worisek was named CCaTS Educator of the Year in 2018.
As of May 2019, Dr. Greenberg-Worisek has also accepted the appointment of Associate Program Director for the CCaTS TL1 Predoctoral program. In this capacity, she has begun to provide direct support to Mayo’s predoctoral students in CCaTS, including curriculum planning, lab rotation and mentor selection, counseling and mentoring on various issues that arise, and co-leading the CCaTS Works In Progress and Journal Club sessions. Additionally, Dr. Greenberg-Worisek works with the education team within the center to advocate for and actively recruit women and underrepresented minorities interested in pursuing advanced degrees in translational science. As a former CCaTS scholar, Greenberg reflects on the program’s role in supporting her efforts as a Cancer Prevention Fellow: “This position is particularly special to me, as it allows me to give back to the program that prepared me to make the most of the CPFP.”
Dr. Maeve Mullooly Receives Emerging Investigator Award Funding Research in Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Epidemiological Outcomes
September 3, 2019
In June 2019, CPFP alumna Dr. Maeve Mullooly received the distinguished Health Research Board (HRB) Emerging Investigator Award (EIA). The HRB is a state agency in Ireland that supports research and provides evidence to prevent illness, improve health, and transform patient care. The EIA supports talented individuals who can make a valuable contribution to knowledge in health research and who can become independent and self-directed investigators. For this award, the HRB specifically seeks applications from individuals who are passionate about the application of knowledge in improving healthcare systems, policies, or practice.
This award, which will begin next year, will support Dr. Mullooly as she examines the breast cancer risk factor mammographic breast density (MBD). Using data from the National Breast Screening Program, her project aims to assess associations between MBD and clinical breast cancer characteristics, including how well patients survive their diagnosis. Within this project, she will also work with investigators within the International Consortium of Mammographic Density. The research will improve knowledge on how this risk factor influences tumor aggressiveness.
Dr. Mullooly began her research in this area during her time as a Cancer Prevention Fellow and continues to expand this work. She credits much of this award to the training she received through the program and to the continued support, encouragement, and mentorship she received from her many CPFP mentors, particularly her primary mentor Dr. Gretchen Gierach, also a former CPFP alumna.
Dr. Mullooly is one of several Irish fellows who completed postdoctoral training with the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program via the Ireland-NCI Cancer Consortium, a partnership designed to promote cooperation between the US and Ireland in all aspects of cancer research, treatment, and prevention. Through this partnership, the CPFP prepares early career, postdoctoral investigators to pursue careers in cancer prevention research upon their return to Ireland. Dr. Mullooly joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as a Research Fellow after completing the CPFP in 2017.
Dr. Jennifer Moss Receives K22 Supporting Research on Cancer Screening in Underserved Populations
August 19, 2019
CPFP alumna Dr. Jennifer L. Moss is the recipient of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Transition Career Development Award (K22). The grant will support Dr. Moss as she transitions into her independent faculty position with Penn State College of Medicine. The career development award will fund a study seeking to uncover multilevel barriers and facilitators to cancer screening in rural and racially-segregated communities and how self-sampling can overcome these barriers and increase cancer screening in these underserved populations.
Dr. Moss believes the project, with a study population of women ages 30-65 years in rural and segregated counties in Pennsylvania, has the potential to determine the feasibility of self-sampling, an alternative to provider-sampling, as a mechanism for screening underserved women for cervical and colorectal cancer. Long-term, Moss hopes this study can launch a precedent and institute protocols for screening to take place largely outside of the clinic, eliminating the need for patients to take time off work, travel to a clinic, etc., in order to get the screening tests they need.
According to Dr. Moss, the idea for this project emerged during her time as a fellow at the NCI. Moss recounted, “I developed the idea for this project through conversations with mentors, fellows, and other researchers while I was a Cancer Prevention Fellow. The program allowed me the time, flexibility, and independence to develop this idea while working on other projects and identifying areas where better science was needed to reduce health disparities. I worked on the initial application for this project through the CPFP grant writing course, and I was able to draw on the resources at the CPFP and NCI to improve and refine my application.”
Dr. Moss is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. In June 2019, she published “Providing higher resolution indicators of rurality in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database: Implications for patient privacy and research” in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The study focuses on census tract-level measures of rurality and their ability to add specificity to studies attempting to understand the relationship between rurality and cancer incidence and survival.
Dr. Christopher Wheldon Recognized as 2019 Sexual & Gender Minority Community and Ally Leader Awardee
August 2, 2019
Dr. Christopher Wheldon, a recent CPFP alumnus, was honored with the 2019 Sexual & Gender Minority (SGM) Community and Ally Leader Award. This award, sponsored by the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, honors NIH employees and fellows for their exemplary work as researchers advancing the frontiers of SGM research.
Dr. Wheldon was recognized for his research focusing on health topics critical to the SGM community, including HPV awareness, culturally competent care, and tobacco use among sexual minorities. His July 2019 publication in LGBT Health, “Cigarette Smoking Among Youth at the Intersection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” aims to identify subgroups of SGM youth who are most vulnerable to tobacco use. The study suggests that transgender boys may be at higher risk for early and current cigarette use regardless of their sexual identity and emphasizes a need for focused attention within specific subgroups of SGM youth in tobacco control research and practice.
Dr. Wheldon credits many players at the NCI for supporting his research endeavors: “The NCI, and the CPFP in particular, have provided great mentorship, encouragement, and support to advance my research program focused on cancer disparities in SGM populations. A special thanks is in order to Dr. Richard Moser, my preceptor, and the Behavioral Research Program for being passionate advocates of their fellows.” In August 2019, Dr. Wheldon will begin the next chapter in his career as Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Public Health at Temple University.