Rotana Alsaggaf, M.S., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a predoctoral fellow in June 2016. She earned her B.S. in biological science from Colorado State University in 2009. In 2015, Ms. Alsaggaf earned an M.S. in epidemiology and preventive medicine with a concentration in human genetics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. In CGB, she works under the mentorship of Shahinaz Gadalla, M.D, Ph.D., Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator, on evaluating the risk of benign and malignant tumors in patients with myotonic dystrophy.
Kelvin César de Andrade, M.Sc., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a predoctoral visiting fellow in August 2016. Mr. Andrade earned his master`s degree in oncology from the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo – Brazil. He first joined CGB as a special volunteer in March 2015, in collaboration with the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center for the research component of his master`s degree project focused on telomere length in Li-Fraumeni patients. Under the mentorship of CGB Branch Chief Sharon A. Savage, M.D., and adjunct investigator Maria Isabel Achatz, M.D., Ph.D., Mr. Andrade’s doctoral research project will investigate genomic signatures that could be associated with cancer onset, progression, and heterogeneity in a specific cohort of Li-Fraumeni patients who harbor the predominant Brazilian founder p.R337H mutation.
Jessica Bayer B.S. joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) of NCI as a postbaccalaureate fellow in December 2016. She earned a B.S. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. She was previously the laboratory manager at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research at Arizona State University, assaying salivary biomarkers for measures of psychosocial stress, development, and evaluation of social networks. In CGB, she works with Jennifer T Loud, R.N., C.R.N.P., D.N.P., Assistant Branch Chief, doing psychosocial research on Li-Fraumeni Syndrome families.
Sonia Bhala, B.S., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) in June 2017 after receiving her B.S. in neuroscience from Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. Her undergraduate work included time in the Lafayette mathematics department working with Dr. Robert Root to study the role of numerical formatting in healthcare decision-making. During her undergraduate career, Ms. Bhala also worked in the behavioral/computational neuroscience lab with Dr. Luis Schettino studying the effects of behavioral modification on white matter near the region of the corpus callosum. As a summer intern in the Biostatistics Branch (BB), DCEG, Ms. Bhala worked with Philip Rosenberg, Ph.D., and William Anderson, M.D., M.P.H., on a study of meningioma incidence in the United States—work that she is continuing as a postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB. In CGB, she is working under the mentorship of Sharon Savage, M.D. on clinical and epidemiologic studies of dyskeratosis congenita, a telomere biology disorder. Ms. Bhala is working on a study describing the neuropsychological disorders and brain MRI abnormalities found in dyskeratosis congenita patients. Her primary research interests include interdisciplinary clinical and epidemiologicstudies that incorporate biostatistics, public health, and neuroscience.
Clara Bodelon, Ph.D., M.S., joined DCEG as a postdoctoral fellow in January 2011. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Boston University in 2001. From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Bodelon did postdoctoral research at The Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA) attempting to understand the dynamics of visual processing. In 2009, Dr. Bodelon received a Master of Science degree in epidemiology from the University of Washington. While working on this degree, she examined the association between the use of analgesics and the risk of endometrial cancer. She also studied relationships between hormonally-related factors and esophageal cancer and the immunogenetic susceptibility of cervical and vulvar cancers. In 2015, she transitioned to the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB), where she is working with Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Chief and senior investigator, CGB, on projects related to the molecular epidemiology of ovarian cancer.
Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow in September 2016. Dr. Clarke earned an M.H.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2010 and a Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2016, both from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to completing her Ph.D., Dr. Clarke was a postbaccalaureate fellow in CGB working with Mark Schiffman, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, on human papillomavirus (HPV) molecular epidemiology and natural history studies. For her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Clarke analyzed electronic medical records to explore patient and provider factors related to HPV vaccine initiation and completion. She also pursued her interests in obesity and molecular epidemiology by investigating the influence of maternal body mass index and weight gain on cord blood DNA methylation patterns in genes related to cancer and obesity. Under the mentorship of Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Chief and senior investigator, CGB, Dr. Clarke works on molecular epidemiologic studies of gynecological cancers, with a particular focus on etiologic biomarkers that have a high potential for improving early detection and risk stratification.
Maria Demarco, Ph.D., M.P.H., started her postdoctoral fellowship at the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) in May 2017. She joined the branch as a predoctoral fellow in September 2015, while working on her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Maryland. Her main research interest is translational epidemiology, particularly focused on cancer screening and prevention. As a predoctoral fellow, Maria Demarco worked under the mentorship of Mark Schiffman, M.D., M.P.H, senior investigator, CGB, and Sam Mbulaiteye, M.D., senior investigator, Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch, to study: (1) the high prevalence of HPV in sub-Saharan (Nigerian) older women, and (2) viral and behavioral co-factors of HPV progression to precancer with clinical implications in risk stratification. As a postdoctoral fellow Dr. Demarco continues to work with Dr. Schiffman on risk estimates and analyses to inform US cervical cancer screening guidelines.
Moises Fiesco-Roa, M.D., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a predoctoral fellow in March 2017. Dr. Fiesco-Roa received his M.D. in 2011 and a degree in medical genetics in 2014, both from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Working with Sara Frias, Ph.D., and Alfredo Rodriguez, Ph.D., he studied Fanconi anemia at the National Institute of Pediatrics. In 2014, he became Board certified as a medical geneticist by the Mexican Board of Genetics. From 2014 to 2016 he worked at the Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Chiapas, Mexico as a clinical geneticist. In CGB, Dr. Fiesco-Roa is working under the mentorship of Blanche P. Alter, M.D., M.P.H., senior clinician, to investigate phenotype-genotype correlation in Fanconi anemia patients and cancer risk in their relatives. He is also working to create a national registry of Fanconi anemia patients in Mexico.
Matthew Gianferante, M.D., joined the DCEG, as a postdoctoral clinical fellow. Dr. Gianferante obtained his M.D. at the Uniformed Service University in 2011 and completed his pediatric residency at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in 2014. Dr. Gianferante is a Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinical Fellow at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and an officer in the United States Public Health Service. He joins the division for the final two years of his clinical fellowship to study pediatric cancer genetic etiology. In the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB), Dr. Gianferante will be working with Dr. Lisa Mirabello and Dr. Sharon Savage to investigate the disease-associated mutations in nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome families and pediatric medulloblastoma trios using whole-exome sequencing data.
Jung Kim, Ph.D., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2016. Dr. Kim earned her Ph.D. in cancer biology from the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences at Northwestern University in 2015, after which she completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship working with Dr. Jindan Yu. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on the transcriptional regulation of key signaling pathways in prostate cancer, including miRNA and epigenetic regulators. In DCEG, she is working with Douglas Stewart, M.D., investigator, CGB, to study the population genetics and phenotype of DICER1 and associated miRNA processing genes, and to analyze somatic genomic data of DICER1-associated malignancies.
Tamara Litwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in September 2016. Dr. Litwin earned her Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2014 from the University of Cambridge through the NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. She then went on to earn her M.P.H. with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016. For her doctoral research, performed at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and with the United Kingdom Medical Research Council’s Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Dr. Litwin used biophysical methods to investigate how DNA topology affects DNA interactions with topoisomerases and other DNA binding proteins. Dr. Litwin’s research interests include the discovery and translation of biomarkers for risk prediction, prevention, and early detection of gynecologic cancers. She is working with Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Chief and senior investigator, CGB, on projects related to the molecular epidemiology of gynecologic cancers.
Lisa J. McReynolds, M.D., Ph.D., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) in August 2016. She earned her M.D. and her Ph.D. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine as a Rudin Scholar in the Medical Scientist Training Program (2009). She completed her dissertation work in the laboratory of Todd Evans, Ph.D., focusing on Smad signaling in a zebrafish model of hematopoiesis. She completed a residency in pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center in 2012, and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in the combined NCI-Johns Hopkins University program in 2016. During her clinical fellowship, Dr. McReynolds developed expertise in GATA2-deficiency, an inherited primary immunodeficiency disorder associated with very high rates of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), under the mentorship of Steven Holland, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. She is working under the mentorship of Sharon A. Savage, M.D., Chief and senior investigator, CGB, on the inherited bone marrow failure study. She is focused on gene discovery and genome characterization in marrow failure patients.
Leatrisse Oba, M.D., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a postdoctoral fellow in March 2018. Dr. Oba earned her M.D. from the University of Brasilia, Brazil in 2001, and worked in clinical research for four years. She completed her residency in pediatrics in 2009 at Asa Sul’s Regional Hospital, FEPECS, Brasília, Brazil. After her residency, she worked as a pediatrician and a clinical assistant in the Emergency department, collaborating with the Pediatrics Residency Program at the University Hospital of Brasilia and Asa Sul’s Regional Hospital, Brazil. Dr. Oba first joined CGB as a special volunteer in December 2016, working with Maria Isabel Achatz, M.D., Ph.D., adjunct investigator, and Payal Khincha, M.D., M.B.B.S., staff clinician, on a collaborative project evaluating the effect of cancer treatment on the development of subsequent cancers in Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) patients. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Oba is working with Sharon A. Savage, M.D., Chief and senior investigator, CGB, and Dr. Khincha, continuing the study of radiotherapy and chemotherapy effects on LFS patients, as well as researching screening exam findings on LFS patients, and novel clinical findings in other cancer predisposition syndromes.
Dr. Maisa Pinheiro joined the Clinical Genetics Branch as a postdoctoral fellow in January 2017. She completed a Bachelor`s degree in biology at the State University of North Paraná, Brazil, and received her Ph.D. in genetics from the São Paulo State University, Brazil, in 2016. Her Ph.D. research was focused on evaluating whole exome sequencing data to identify novel candidate genes that predispose to familial breast and thyroid cancers. Dr. Pinheiro performed part of her thesis work at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and the University of Toronto, Canada. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Mirabello, Ph.D., Earl Stadtman Investigator, CGB, her work in DCEG is focused on HPV genomic studies including the evaluation of HPV genome variation and its associations with carcinogenicity.
Joseph Tota, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a Visiting Fellow in January 2015. Dr. Tota received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from McGill University and M.Sc. in health sciences and epidemiology from Brock University. His doctoral dissertation focused on applying epidemiologic methods to evaluate the potential for HPV type replacement post-vaccination. In addition to work on lung and cervical cancer screening, he also designed and coordinated a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of a carrageenan-gel against the transmission of cervical HPV infection (CATCH trial). In DCEG, Dr. Tota is working under the mentorship of Dr. Anil Chaturvedi on projects related to etiology and natural history of oral cancers. He is also working with Drs. Anil Chaturvedi and Hormuzd Katki (BB) on risk of lung cancer and cervical cancer and their application to screening.
Talia Wegman-Ostrosky, M.D., PhD., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a postdoctoral fellow in August 2016. Dr. Wegman-Ostrosky received her M.D. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2007, and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Guadalajara in human genetics in 2014. In 2016, she became board certified as a medical geneticist by the Mexican Board of Genetics. Working with Jose Sanchez-Corona, M.D., Ph.D., she worked on the diagnosis of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome for her masters thesis and on biomarkers of astrocytoma tumors for her Ph.D. dissertation. In 2012, she started working at the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, in the Division of Research as a researcher and later as a medical geneticist. In CGB, Dr. Wegman-Ostrosky is working with Sharon A. Savage, M.D., Chief and senior investigator, CGB, and Douglas Stewart, M.D., investigator, CGB, to investigate germline variants associated with rare hereditary cancer syndromes.
Youjin Wang, Ph.D., joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2016. Dr. Wang earned her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY School of Public Health and Health Professions in 2016. Working with Dr. Jean Wactawski-Wende, her doctoral research focused on the interactions of genetic susceptibility, menopausal estrogen use, and calcium/vitamin D supplementation on fracture risk among postmenopausal women. Dr. Wang’s research interests are to study the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in cancer risk and cancer treatment outcome. She is working with Shahinaz Gadalla, M.D., Ph.D., Earl Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator, CGB, to understand the etiology of cancer susceptibility in patients with myotonic dystrophy.
Jenni Young, M.A., M.S., LGMFT, joined the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB) of NCI as a predoctoral fellow in September, 2014. She is a first year family science doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned a B.A. in psychology and Mandarin Chinese from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an M.A. in Chinese language and culture from The Ohio State University. Ms. Young graduated from the University of Maryland’s Couple and Family Therapy M.S. Program in May and is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist in the state of Maryland. In CGB, she works with Mark H. Greene, M.D., senior investigator, and Jennifer T. Loud, R.N., C.R.N.P., D.N.P., Assistant Branch Chief, doing psychosocial and qualitative research on Li-Fraumeni syndrome families.