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Q&A with Former Fellow, Hisani Madison, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Hisani Horne Madison

Years at DCEG: May 2010 to July 2014
DCEG Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Organization: AstraZeneca
Current Title: Associate Director, Diagnostics Expert, Oncology

Who was your mentor at DCEG? What did you work on?
My mentor was Dr. Jonine Figueroa. As part of the branch formerly known as the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, I worked on projects aiming to understand the molecular and histological heterogeneity that exists in breast and ovarian cancer. Since I was a part of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship, I had the pleasure of also working with Gretchen Gierach, Ph.D., M.P.H., Dr. Mark Sherman, Rose Yang, Ph.D., M.P.H., and William Anderson, M.D., M.P.H., on a range of projects.

What is your current position?
I am currently working at AstraZeneca, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as an Associate Director, Diagnostics Expert in the Oncology R&D Unit. In this role, I serve as the Diagnostics Lead for the gastrointestinal cancer global product team within the ImmunoOncology franchise.

How do you apply the skills you developed at DCEG in your current job?
As a Diagnostics Lead, I’m tasked with surveying the literature, clinical data and my own knowledgebase to apply science to strategy when working to develop the right drug for the right cancer patient (precision medicine). The leadership and critical thinking skills, as well as the thorough understanding of the scientific process and cancer as a disease that was developed during my time as a DCEG Fellow has served me well in my current role.

Do you have any memories from your fellowship that you would like to share?
So many, where do I start?! I think my fondest memories as a fellow are largely centered around the great group of people that started out as colleagues but became friends. Having friends to talk over everything from science to fashion was one of my favorite pastimes as a fellow. Over the years since my fellowship ended, they have continued to be my biggest cheerleaders on my scientific journey.

What do you do in your free time?
What free time? Just kidding. I have a husband and two little girls/competitive gymnasts that get the most of my free time. But I also have a passion project, an art education non-profit called ArtWorks 4 ENA, Inc., that also gets a bit of my free time.

Do you have any advice for current or future DCEG fellows?
The biggest advice I can give is to reach back and use your network to your advantage. Since leaving DCEG, I have had more informational interviews than I can count. Some of those have led to jobs at either FDA (my former employer) or at AstraZeneca (my current employer). Former fellows are a wealth of knowledge, be sure to tap into it.

Read more conversations with former fellows.