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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Conversation with Former DCEG Fellow, Mia Gaudet, Ph.D.

Posted on August 10, 2018

Headshot of Mia Gaudet, Ph.D

Years at DCEG: June 2005 to December 2007
DCEG title: Research Fellow
Current organization: American Cancer Society (ACS)       
Current title: Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research

Who was your mentor at DCEG?
Montserrat Garcia-Closas, M.D., Dr.P.H.– the best mentor EVER.

What did you work on (briefly)?
I primarily analyzed genetic variation in individual genes and risk of breast and endometrial cancer. I also examined breast cancer risk factors by molecular subtypes.

What is your current position?
As scientific director for epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society, my position is equivalent to that of an associate professor in a department of epidemiology, but with less grant writing. Most of my day is spent generating new research ideas, overseeing statistical analyses, and writing manuscripts. I contribute to the collection of new exposure data through the development of follow-up questionnaires, and lead the collection of breast and ovarian tissue samples in the ACS’s Cancer Prevention Study cohorts. I mentor students, fellows, and junior faculty at ACS and Emory University, and lecture occasionally at local universities. I also have the opportunity to share my research with the broader public by commenting to the media and advising my ACS colleagues working in communications and implementation.

How do you apply the skills you developed at DCEG in your current job?
On a daily basis, I employ the skills developed during my fellowship; though I focus on the same areas, my research has grown and shifted over time.

Do you have any memories from your fellowship that you would like to share?
I have horrible memories of the vegetarian options at the cafeteria next to the old DCEG office*, but fond memories of tea times, branch celebrations, and office yoga!

What do you do in your free time?
With two kids and a career, I don’t have much free time. I relax when I can cook dinner in the evening with no interruptions.

Do you have any advice for current or future DCEG fellows?
My friendships with fellows training concurrently with me will last a lifetime! Be sure to cultivate those relationships as they will become an important base to your network as you move beyond DCEG. Also, form collaborations with investigators outside of your comfort zone – expose yourself to their language and methods.

*Editor’s note: the NCI Shady Grove cafeteria has much better lunch options.

Read more conversations with former fellows.