Conversation with Former Fellow, Alison Mondul, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
Years at DCEG: 2009-2014
DCEG Title: Cancer Research Training Award Fellow, Research Fellow
Current Organization: University of Michigan
Current Title: Assistant Professor
Who was your mentor at DCEG? What did you work on?
My mentor was Demetrius Albanes, M.D., senior investigator in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch (formerly the Nutrition Epidemiology Branch, NEB). I worked on studies related to micronutrients, including retinol, vitamin E, and vitamin D, and risk of multiple cancers, particularly prostate cancer. I also analyzed some of the first metabolomics data generated in the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study.
What is your current position?
I'm currently an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
How do you apply the skills you developed at DCEG in your current job?
I use those skills every day! My time at DCEG really helped me hone my skills in epidemiologic methods and writing, and broadened my skill set considerably. In particular, I learned about metabolomics analyses during my time at DCEG, and that has become a big part of my research program here at the University of Michigan. I wouldn't be where I am today without the training I received.
Do you have any memories from your fellowship that you would like to share?
Oh my gosh, I have so many memories, I don't know how to pick! I loved our NEB branch teas, Demetrius' famous skits at the division picnics, and all of the wonderful conversations with my colleagues about science and beyond. DCEG was such a welcoming, vibrant place, and everyone was really supportive and collegial. I always suggest that my students apply for postdoctoral positions there because my experience was so positive.
What do you do in your free time?
I have an 8-year-old son, and he and I go to Taekwondo together. He recently got his junior black belt and I earned by second degree black belt. I also enjoy knitting.
Do you have any advice for current or future DCEG fellows?
What you learn in DCEG is invaluable, but the contacts you make are just as important! I still collaborate with many people that I worked with and those relationships have been really critical to starting my own research program.