by Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., and Mary Playdon, M.P.H.
In March, DCEG held the seventh annual Fellows’ Training Symposium, titled “Translational Science: Ideas to Action”. More than 60 predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows attended the event, representing all branches and laboratories of DCEG.
The event was sponsored by DCEG’s Office of Education (OE) and organized by a DCEG fellows’ committee, including co-chairs Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., and Mary Playdon, M.P.H., and committee members Emily Bowen, M.P.H., Noorie Hyun, Ph.D., Jason Liu, Sc.D., Lydia Louis, M.P.H., Candace Middlebrooks, Ph.D., Anand Pathak, M.D., Ph.D., Jessica Petrick, Ph.D., M.P.H., Jose Ramon (“Ray”) Troche, M.P.H., and Cindy Zhou, Ph.D., with support from Jackie Lavigne, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief of OE, Kristin Kiser, M.H.A., M.S., OE’s fellowship coordinator, and Diane Wigfield.
Margaret A. Tucker, M.D., Director of the Human Genetics Program and Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Translational Genomics, opened the symposium by providing an overview of the history and scope of translational research in DCEG. Dr. Tucker reinforced fellows’ crucial role in this translational process.
To describe innovations in precision medicine, Dr. Lindsay Harris, professor of medicine and Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Case Western Reserve University, shared her experience in treating breast cancer patients and emphasized the implications of applying breast cancer biomarkers for clinical testing and practice. Dr. Harris described the future use of comprehensive biomarker analysis and DNA-based markers for genotype-directed cancer therapy and prognosis prediction.
Dr. Evan Robert Myers, Walter L. Thomas professor of the Division of Clinical and Epidemiological Research Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center, detailed how decision analysis mathematical modeling can help with healthcare decision-making and setting research priorities.
Dr. Susan T. Mayne, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and previously C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, shared her real-world experience of employing epidemiologic discoveries on the effects of indoor tanning on basal cell carcinoma risk to advocate for age restrictions on its use. She also described the FDA’s new role in regulating the indoor tanning industry.
Two DCEG fellows currently involved in translational research presented their work. Guoqin Yu, Ph.D., discussed “Diversity and structure of the human lung tissue microbiome from lung cancer patients.” Paula Hyland, Ph.D., M.P.H., spoke on “Post-GWAS functional characterization of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma susceptibility loci using pathway, expression quantitative trait loci, and in silico analyses.” More than 30 fellows presented posters on their research.
The symposium concluded with an interactive panel discussion including Drs. Harris, Myers, and Mayne. “The panel discussion offered the chance to hear first-hand from experts in cancer research about career options and how they differ in terms of long-term career paths and prospects,” said Wei Jie Seow, Sc.D., a DCEG postdoctoral fellow. “Attending this event made me better evaluate and balance my own career expectations and potential.”