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Fellows Talk About DCEG

“I’ve had the privilege of working among the expertise of DCEG investigators. Most of my studies are interdisciplinary which allow me to work with experts from diverse fields. In particular, the Molecular and Digital Pathology Laboratory has been a tremendous resource. The collection of biospecimens they maintain is like a treasure trove, and the team has been very supportive as I continue to build my skills in the rapidly evolving field of computational pathology.”

Mustapha Abubakar, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch

Rotana Alsaggaf, postdoctoral fellow

“One of the main benefits of training in DCEG is working with the ‘best of the best’— DCEG investigators are pioneers in their field and there are abundant opportunities to collaborate with people across the U.S. and throughout the world. CGB is a diverse and supportive group, ranging from epidemiologists, clinicians, oncologists, and geneticists, which provides a wide range of perspectives to my work.”

Rotana Alsaggaf, Ph.D., M.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Clinical Genetics Branch 

“The NIH gives fellows the ability to curate their own experience by encouraging our involvement in grassroots organizations such as the FelCom or DFel. As the liaison to the training directors for the NIH Fellows Committee, I got to witness first-hand how much the NIH cares about creating a rich and successful experience for their fellows.” 

David Borrego, Ph.D.
Research Fellow and Independent Research Scholar, Radiation Epidemiology Branch

“The strong multidisciplinary environment at DCEG has fostered collaborations across different branches which has helped broaden my knowledge and skills. There are so many established experts across the Division that I can consult on study design, analyses, and manuscript preparation. Also, the vast amount of data and biospecimens at our disposal allows fellows to explore and pursue our own independent research projects.”

Doratha (Armen) Byrd, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Postdoctoral Alumna, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch

“I feel incredibly blessed to be training in DCEG/BB because of the open and collaborative environment, which I think is fundamental for fellows’ training. There are immense opportunities to work with diverse experts in clinical and epidemiological research, which enables me to combine methodological work with public health research and challenges me to develop new statistical approaches."

Justin Yongli Han, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Biostatistics Branch

“We know that transgender individuals have poorer health outcomes due to discrimination and stigma, however there’s very little known about the health risks in this population. Gender identity is not accurately captured in current cohorts or national surveys. In addition, the field of epidemiology is starting to recognize the influence of sex and gender differences on health including incidence of disease, response to treatment and survival—it’s important to tease apart these differences.”

Sarah Jackson, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch

Portrait of Olivia Lee

“GPP is such a unique opportunity to experience both NIH intramural research and the academic environment of a university with interdisciplinary investigation. The support and guidance from my mentors and the DCEG Office of Education has been an essential asset to my experience as a graduate student,” said Ms. Lee. “Dr. Lavigne helped me navigate all my program requirements, tuition and stipend to create a smooth transition into my dissertation work.”

Olivia Lee, B.S.
Predoctoral Fellow, Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch

Jongeun Rhee

“Coming from academia, I was impressed by how OEEB’s research priorities are mission-driven; we have a great team and resources to address important research questions in environmental and occupational health. We are very collaborative as a branch and I’m grateful that we, especially the fellows’ group, have been able to maintain our community of support during this challenging time. I appreciate the mentorship I’ve received from Dr. Purdue. He is very supportive of my career goal to be an independent investigator and I appreciate our open and honest communication. I’ve also received great career advice from my mentoring committee including members from different branches.”

Jongeun Rhee, Sc.D., M.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch

“My experience as a post-bac in CGB has been truly invaluable as I’ve been fortunate to contribute to multiple projects. Not only do my mentors give me autonomy over my studies, they have also provided me opportunities to serve as a consultant on variant pathogenicity to physicians and genetic counselors who contact us about our research,” reflected Ms. Thompson. “The DCEG Office of Education and my mentors have helped me navigate my career path. My research helped me realize my passion for genetics and connecting with patients, which has encouraged me to pursue a career in genetic counseling.”

Ashley Thompson, B.S.
Postbaccalaureate Fellow, Clinical Genetics Branch

“My mentor Dr. Amundadottir is providing a training environment that is well suited to the needs for my professional development.  She is approachable and always very helpful with advising me on the direction of the research. In addition, unique to DCEG are the fantastic collaborators who are happy to help with model simulation and functional work, and access to large-scale Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) datasets which are a powerful resource to study cancer susceptibility.”

Jun Zhong, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Translational Genomics

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