April 6, 2020
Dr. Derek Brown, a current CPFP Fellow housed in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), recently published an editorial titled “Why Y? Downregulation of Chromosome Y Genes…
Dr. Derek Brown, a current CPFP Fellow housed in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), recently published an editorial titled “Why Y? Downregulation of Chromosome Y Genes Potentially Contributes to Elevated Cancer Risk.” The piece was released January 16, 2020, in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
In men, somatic loss of the Y chromosome, referred to as mosaic loss of Y (LOY), has been shown to be associated with both hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors. Although observational studies have suggested a connection between LOY and cancer, little is known about the biological mechanisms which link LOY to cancer. Within the article, Dr. Brown and his DCEG preceptor and NIH Earl Stadtman Investigator, Dr. Mitchell Machiela, discuss new findings which suggest down-regulation of chromosome Y gene expression as a possible mediator between LOY and cancer risk.
Post publication, Drs. Brown and Machiela continue to investigate possible biological mechanisms which could potentially connect mosaic LOY and elevated cancer risk.
2020 William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award Recipients: Drs. Brittny Davis Lynn, Emily Rossi, and Joe Shearer
January 9, 2020
CPFP alumna Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn and current Cancer Prevention Fellows Dr. Emily Rossi and Dr. Joe Shearer are 2020 recipients of the prestigious William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health…
CPFP alumna Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn and current Cancer Prevention Fellows Dr. Emily Rossi and Dr. Joe Shearer are 2020 recipients of the prestigious William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award. The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) established this competitive award to support innovative research that has the potential for high impact in any area of minority health and health disparities research. Each recipient, with their respective teams, will receive a $15,000 research award to study key determinants of health inequities and advance scientific knowledge within the field.
Through her project, “The breast milk microbiome and its relationship with breast cancer risk factors among black and white women,” Dr. Davis Lynn, an Independent Research Scholar in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics’ Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, aims at extending upon previous breast milk and microbiome research to a larger population of black and white women, in order to comprehensively evaluate the associations between breast cancer risk factors and the breast milk microbiome. Additionally, risk factor and breast milk microbiome data will be integrated with other breast milk biomarkers, such as DNA methylation and cytokine levels, to examine their inter-relationships, and determine whether racial differences exist in these associations.
Dr. Emily Rossi, with NCI postdoctoral colleagues Drs. Rony Arauz Melendez and Sheryse Taylor, aim to compare lung tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissue of European American (EA) and African American (AA) patients to delineate immune cell subsets using methylation signatures. In their project, “Contribution of Genetic Ancestry to Differences in the Immune Landscape of Lung Cancer in European Americans and African Americans,” the team will also analyze tumor-infiltrating immune cell composition and neoantigen load, and how these immune factors differ by genetic ancestry. By characterizing these population-level immune-dependent differences, they hope to contribute to a more precise determination of biomarkers to inform precision medicine that adequately represents AAs.
Dr. Shearer’s project, “Evaluating the impact of concentrated animal feeding operations on Campylobacter jejuni infections in rural agricultural communities,” will utilize resources from an ongoing epidemiologic study of farming and non-farming Iowa residents with information on previous agricultural exposures (e.g., direct animal exposure) and available biospecimens, to evaluate whether residential proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations is associated with circulating C. jejuni antibody levels, among rural, agricultural residents. He also aims to examine the relationship between recent direct contact with animals and circulating C. jejuni antibody levels, in the same population.
December 11, 2019
Dr. Esmeralda Ramirez-Peña, a current CPFP Fellow, was invited to present the keynote address at the 11th Annual GSLSAMP/NNJ-B2B STEM Research Conference at Rutgers University. Dr. Ramirez-Peña’s…
In October 2019, Dr. Esmeralda Ramirez-Peña, a current CPFP Fellow, was invited to present the keynote address at the 11th Annual GSLSAMP/NNJ-B2B STEM Research Conference at Rutgers University. This yearly event is sponsored by the Garden State-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the Northern New Jersey Bridges to Baccalaureate Alliance and seeks to support traditionally underrepresented minority (URM) students by expanding opportunities in STEM-related disciplines.
Dr. Ramirez-Peña’s address focused on her scientific journey from childhood, a stage of her life impacted by a move from Mexico to the US, to the present. She told the story of her passion for laboratory research and her struggle with impostor syndrome (IS), a struggle which was amplified by statistics surrounding attrition rates and lack of leadership positions for URMs and women in STEM. She stressed that participation in community outreach initiatives helped her to realize that as a female, Latina scientist, she had the power to inspire future generations of URM researchers. From these experiences, she became more comfortable in her space as a scientist.
Esmeralda also credits the CPFP for supporting this scientific journey. She expressed that with “the NCI CPFP I have received training that has enhanced my scientific career through the M.P.H. and the Leadership Series. These training opportunities have broadened my horizons and have enabled me to make valuable connections with other URMs in public health and cancer research. The Leadership Training Series has equipped me with strategies on dealing with IS and strengthening emotional intelligence to maximize my productivity. I was able to share what I learned from this series during my talk and pass on valuable information to students struggling with IS.”
Following her talk, Dr. Ramirez-Peña interacted with conference attendees, students presenting research projects on topics spanning engineering, the microbiome, genetics, single cell algorithms, and immunology. She enjoyed learning about their own scientific experiences and the strong academic community and dedicated mentors they receive from the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and The Northern New Jersey Bridges to Baccalaureate Alliance.
November 15, 2019
Dr. Lisa B. Signorello, Director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP), is the recipient of an individual NCI Director's Award for Outstanding Mentor “in recognition of her visionary…
Dr. Lisa B. Signorello, Director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP), is the recipient of an individual NCI Director's Award for Outstanding Mentor “in recognition of her visionary guidance, undaunting leadership, and dedication to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) CPFP team, fostering the goal of the NCI mission overall.”
Dr. Signorello was nominated by the CPFP staff for her excellence in mentoring fellows and program staff and establishing relationships and environments that empower mentees to be successful. Specifically, Dr. Signorello’s team lauded her for her ability to identify and develop individual strengths, her commitment to wellness, and her dedication to promoting collaborations across and outside the Institute. The latter accomplishment is illustrated through her diligent efforts to initiate a partnership between the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program and the NIH Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. These efforts culminated in a Joint Training in Cancer Prevention & Control track within the NIH Hematology/Oncology Fellowship.
Dr. Signorello expressed, “I am so privileged to be a daily part of the scientific, professional, and personal development of such a wonderful group of people. Mentoring is such a rewarding part of any career, and I am truly fortunate that it gets to be such a big part of mine.”
Dr. Signorello received her award at the 2019 NCI Director's Awards Ceremony on December 5, 2019, in the Ruth Kirschstein Auditorium in the Natcher Building on the main NIH Bethesda campus.
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)…
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.”