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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Current Fellows in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch

Meet the current fellows in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch and learn about research training opportunities.

Matthew Gianferante, M.D. – Postdoctoral Clinical Fellow

Matthew Gianferante, M.D., joined the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) as a postdoctoral clinical fellow.  Dr. Gianferante obtained his M.D. at the Uniformed Service University in 2011 and completed his pediatric residency at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in 2014. Dr. Gianferante is a Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinical Fellow at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and an officer in the United States Public Health Service. He joins the division for the final two years of his clinical fellowship to study pediatric cancer genetic etiology. Dr. Gianferante will be working with Drs. Lisa Mirabello and Sharon Savage to investigate the disease-associated mutations in nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome families and pediatric medulloblastoma trios using whole-exome sequencing data.

Scientific Publications - Matthew Gianferante

Fangyi Gu, M.Med., Sc.D. - Research Fellow

Fangyi Gu, M.Med., Sc.D., joined the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) in May, 2010. Dr. Gu completed her Sc.D. in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2010 and earned a Master of Medicine from Peking Union Medical College in 2004 and a Bachelor of Medicine from Peking Medical University in 2001. She has collaborated on several epidemiological projects, including the recent GWAS of smoking behaviors led by DCEG and Harvard investigators, as well as an international multicenter association study of insulin like growth factor pathway genes with circulating IGF1/BP3 hormone levels. While at DCEG, Dr. Gu is working with Neil E. Caporaso, M.D., Chief of GEB, and colleagues on smoking exposure and genetic susceptibility in relation to lung cancer risk.

Scientific Publications - Fangyi Gu

Paula Hyland, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Research Fellow

Paula Hyland

Paula Hyland, Ph.D., M.P.H. joined the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) in January, 2010 as the Northern Irish Cancer Prevention Fellow. Dr. Hyland received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Ulster, Coleraine, (UUC), in Northern Ireland (NI), studying the effects of dNTP pool imbalances on DNA replication and repair fidelity. She also has a B.Sc. in biomedical sciences from UUC. In 2009, she obtained her M.P.H. from Queen’s University Belfast, NI, which focused on the molecular epidemiology of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) and the alteration of chromatin modifiers and histone marks by HPV-16 E6/7 oncogenes. In November 2012, Dr. Hyland became a research fellow in GEB.

Dr. Hyland has a strong interest in investigating the association of genetic variation as well as epigenetic changes and the risk of melanoma and upper gastrointestinal (UGI) tract cancers. She is currently working with Xiaohong Rose Yang, Ph.D., M.P.H., GEB investigator, to examine genetic and epigenetic changes and risk of familial melanoma. Dr. Hyland received two DCEG Intramural Research awards and an NCI Director’s Innovation award for her projects examining constitutional epigenetic changes and mitochondrial DNA copy number and their relationships with melanoma risk in melanoma-prone families. Dr. Hyland is also working with Philip R. Taylor, M.D., Sc.D., senior investigator, GEB, to assess the relationship of genetic variation in gene pathways and noncoding RNAs with risk of esophageal and gastric cancers using SNP data from the UGI cancer GWAS, as well as gene expression and biomarker detection in the Barrett’s Esophagus Early Detection Study (BEEDS).

Scientific Publications - Paula Hyland

Hyuna Sung, Ph.D., M.A. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Hyuna Sung, Ph.D., M.A., joined the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2013. She received her B.A. in 2002 and M.A. in biological sciences in 2004 at Seoul National University. There, she worked with Dr. Dongeun Park studying the role of the Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor β-Pix and Dynamin in rat hippocampal neurons. She then obtained a B.A. in pharmacy from Kyunghee University in 2009 and received her Ph.D. in molecular epidemiology from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Seoul National University under the supervision of Dr. Daehee Kang, in 2013. Her doctoral research focused on the association between genetic variants in microRNA-related genes and breast cancer risk and a breast cancer risk prediction model incorporating established risk factors, previously identified genetic loci, and microRNA-related SNPs newly identified in the Seoul Breast Cancer Study. While completing her Ph.D. as a predoctoral intern at Vanderbilt University in 2011, she participated in analysis of breast cancer genome-wide association study project conducted by the Asian Breast Cancer Consortium. As part of her postdoctoral fellowship in GEB, Dr. Sung is working on studies to understand and integrate genetic susceptibility, somatic alterations, and tumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and upper gastrointestinal cancer under the mentorship of Philip R. Taylor, M.D., Sc.D., senior investigator, GEB, and Xiaohong Rose Yang, Ph.D., M.P.H., investigator, GEB.

Scientific Publications - Hyuna Sung

Guoqin Yu, Ph.D., M.S., - Postdoctoral Fellow

Guoqin Yu

Guoqin Yu, Ph.D., M.S., joined the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) and the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a CRTA postdoctoral fellow in 2011. She received a B.S. in biology and computer science in 2001 and an M.S. in genetics from Zhejiang University/Beijing Institute of Botany in 2004. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in evolution, ecology and population biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009, under the direction of Dr. Barbara Schaal. As part of her doctoral studies, she researched the evolution of starch synthesis pathway genes in wild and cultivated rice, and the association between variation in starch genes and starch quality in rice. In order to improve her bioinformatics techniques, Dr. Guoqin performed postdoctoral research for Drs. Arlin Stoltzfus and John Moult at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied the evolution of prokaryotes genomes using population genetics tools.

Dr. Yu is interested in how exposures that are major cancer risk factors affect human microbiota and how human microbiota affect cancer risk. She is also interested in explaining the variation within and between human populations and their relationship with cancer. She is currently working on projects related to these subjects under the mentorship of Alisa M. Goldstein, Ph.D., senior investigator of GEB, as well as Neil E. Caporaso, M.D., Chief of GEB, Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief and senior investigator of the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, and Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator, GEB. In 2013 and in 2015, Dr. Yu was awarded NCI Director’s Intramural Innovation Awards for the proposals “Does cigarette smoking alter microbial communities in the oral cavity? -- A detailed survey of the oral cavity” and “A prospective nested case-control study of the relation of respiratory tract microbiota to lung cancer among Yunnan Tin Corporation (YTC) Miner Cohort”. She was award a DCEG Fellows Award for Research excellence in 2015 and an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence in 2016.

Scientific Publications - Guoqin Yu

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Learn about research training opportunities in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch.