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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention


March 2013 - Linkage Newsletter

""Nathan Brand joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) as a postbaccalaureate fellow. Mr. Brand received a B.A. from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He previously spent time in the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D. (LTG) as a summer fellow, where he worked on cloning a novel interferon gene, IFNL4, and genotyping a genetic variant of this gene in samples from patients with different outcomes for clearance of hepatitis C virus. Later, Mr. Brand worked in Kampala, Uganda, to study the neurocognitive effects of severe pediatric  malaria. In his current position at LTG, he is working with Dr. Prokunina-Olsson to study the functional properties of wild-type IFNL4 and its natural allelic variants.

""Anna Coghill, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow. She received a B.S. in cell and molecular biology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, an M.P.H. from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Washington in Seattle. At the University of Washington, Dr. Coghill examined the role of HIV-related immune suppression in survival for both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining malignancies among patients seen at the Uganda Cancer Institute. Before joining IIB, Dr. Coghill was part of a research team that piloted a randomized trial of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation among HIV and human herpesvirus 8 coinfected adults in Uganda. During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Coghill plans to explore the immune response to Epstein-Barr virus as a marker of cancer risk with her mentor, Allan Hildesheim, Ph.D., Chief of IIB. She also will work with Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H. (IIB), to study the role of HIV and immune suppression in outcomes for cancer patients by using data from the U.S. HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study and the Transplant Cancer Match Study.

""Toni Doctor Brown joined the Administrative Resource Center (ARC) as an administrative technician. Before coming to DCEG, she provided office support for many years to the Center for Cancer Research Medical Oncology Branch. Ms. Doctor Brown is skilled in travel planning, overseeing meeting management, procurement, and performing general administrative duties.

""Laura Eichelberger, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch (NEB) as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow. Dr. Eichelberger received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where her research focused on issues related to cultural change, infectious disease, and water insecurity in northwest Alaska. She later received an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, with a customized concentration in infectious disease, cancer, epidemiology, global environment, opulence, and sustainability. In DCEG, Dr. Eichelberger will work with NEB scientists Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., M.P.H., Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., M.P.H., Gwen Murphy, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Sanford M. Dawsey, M.D., and with IIB investigator Sam M. Mbulaiteye, M.D., on the sociocultural determinants of malaria and Helicobacter pylori infection and the effect of these determinants on cancer risk.

""Zhenming Fu, M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil., joined the Radiation Epidemiology Branch (REB) as a research fellow. After he received his medical degree from the Wuhan University School of Medicine in China, Dr. Fu trained as a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist in China. He later received an M.Phil. in molecular oncology and a Ph.D. in cancer epidemiology, both from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. From 2003 to 2005, he worked as a senior attending oncologist at Wuhan Union Hospital of Tong Ji Medical University in China. Upon returning to Hong Kong, Dr. Fu finished his doctoral research, in which he addressed family cancer history and other risk factors and their interactions in different subsets of lung cancer. Dr. Fu completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer genetic epidemiology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2009 to 2012. In REB, he will work with Lindsay M. Morton, Ph.D., and other REB investigators to identify new molecular and clinicopathological subsets of cancers; explore new targets for personalized cancer prevention by examining gene-environment interactions; and evaluate risks of a second cancer in relation to new technologies in radiation therapy, such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy and proton therapy.

""Armen A. Ghazarian, M.P.H., joined the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch (HREB) as a predoctoral fellow. He participates in the doctoral training partnership in cancer epidemiology with George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Before joining HREB, Mr. Ghazarian worked in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences as an environmental epidemiology fellow. Mr. Ghazarian received a B.S. in biological sciences and an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. His master’s thesis used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program to examine socioeconomic disparities in esophageal adenocarcinoma. In HREB, Mr. Ghazarian will work on studies of hormonal effects on cancer in males under the mentorship of Katherine A. McGlynn, Ph.D., Deputy Chief of HREB.

Arpita Ghosh, Ph.D., left the Biostatistics Branch (BB) to join the Public Health Foundation of India as a research scientist.

""Kristin Guertin, Ph.D., joined NEB as a postdoctoral fellow. She received an M.P.H. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in nutrition from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Her doctoral research focused on a randomized trial of vitamin E and selenium, in which she investigated the plausibility of effects from these agents on decline in lung function. In DCEG, Dr. Guertin will work with Rashmi Sinha, Ph.D., Deputy Chief of NEB, on the associations between diet and cancer risk, focusing on coffee and dietary metabolites.

""Rena Jones, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Jones received her M.S. and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY) School of Public Health. Her doctoral research investigated the association between chemical constituents of particulate matter and cardiovascular and respiratory morbidities in the state of New York. As part of her research, Dr. Jones developed and evaluated methods for examining independent constituent effects and imputation of geo-spatial exposure. While pursuing her Ph.D. at SUNY Albany, Dr. Jones also worked as an epidemiologist at the New York State Department of Health and gained practical experience in studies of environmental and occupational exposures, with a focus on air pollutants. Under the mentorship of Mary H. Ward, Ph.D. (OEEB), Dr. Jones will focus on the improvement and validation of methods for assessing environmental exposures in epidemiological studies of cancer.

Kathryn Kapinos left the ARC to accept a position with the NCI Budget Office.

""Krystle Lang Kuhs, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined IIB as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow. Dr. Kuhs earned her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences/pharmacology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Her doctoral research focused on the design and development of novel hepatitis C virus DNA vaccines able to induce potent T cell-based immunity within the liver. After getting her Ph.D., Dr. Kuhs earned an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics. In IIB, she will work with Aimée R. Kreimer, Ph.D., using data from the Costa Rica HPV 16/18 Vaccine Trial to investigate the epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection at multiple anatomic sites and the potential for the HPV vaccine to have an impact on these infections.

""Michelle Lathrop joined the ARC as the new Deputy ARC Director. She previously worked at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where she served as Section Chief for General Administration in the Intramural Administrative Management Branch. Ms. Lathrop offers a wealth of knowledge, with over 12 years of experience in the administration arena. Before entering the administrative field, Ms. Lathrop worked with DCEG as a technical information specialist.

""Mitchell Machiela, Sc.D., joined LTG as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Machiela received an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an Sc.D. in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. His doctoral work focused on germline genetic variation and risk of prostate cancer. Under the mentorship of Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Chief of LTG and Director of the NCI Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory, Dr. Machiela is investigating the prevalence, location, and molecular characteristics of human clonal mosaic events. His interests include the genetics of prostate cancer, statistical genetics, and the fine mapping of disease susceptibility loci.

Jacqueline Major, Ph.D., left NEB to accept a research assistant professor position in Philadelphia at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

""Matthew Makowski joined LTG as a postbaccalaureate fellow after graduating with a B.S. in biology with university honors from American University in Washington, D.C. At American University, Mr. Makowski analyzed relative levels of codon usage bias in model insect species exhibiting heterometabolic versus hemimetabolic development. He also participated in Penn State College of Medicine’s summer undergraduate research internship program in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he studied respiratory syncytial virus particle assembly via gag hexameric subunits and enterovirus 71 binding mechanics with receptor PSGL-1. Under the mentorship of Kevin Brown, Ph.D., and Jiyeon Choi, Ph.D., both of LTG, Mr. Makowski will perform post-GWAS (genome-wide association study) functional analysis of the chromosome 1q42.12 melanoma susceptibility locus, focusing specifically on the role of the PARP1 gene in melanoma risk.

""Daphne C. Papathomas joined HREB as a postbaccalaureate and NIH Academy Fellow. Ms. Papathomas received a B.S. in biological sciences from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During her senior year, she was involved in research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia on the epidemiology of breast cancer among Hispanics. In HREB, Ms. Papathomas will work with Jonine D. Figueroa, Ph.D., M.P.H., Gretchen L. Gierach, Ph.D., and Mark E. Sherman, M.D., to study the molecular epidemiology of breast cancer and mammographic density.

""Hilary Robbins joined IIB as a postbaccalaureate fellow. She received a B.S. in chemistry with a minor in biology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and she is pursuing an M.S.P.H. in global disease epidemiology and control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. In her masters’ program, Ms. Robbins was an Epidemiology Scholar at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and used data from the Los Angeles Mommy and Baby Project to investigate neighborhood- and individual-level predictors of intimate partner violence during pregnancy. Under the mentorship of Mahboobeh Safaeian, Ph.D. (IIB), Ms. Robbins is using data from the Costa Rica HPV 16/18 Vaccine Trial to evaluate the HPV L1-GST multiplex Luminex assay in the context of natural infection and vaccination as well as assessing its comparability to other assays for HPV. Additionally, with Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H. (IIB), Ms. Robbins is analyzing data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study to characterize the excess burden of cancer in HIV-infected people and to assess the contribution of aging to the development of cancer in HIV patients.

Chamindri (Mindy) Sarkisian left the ARC to accept a position with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a program analyst.

"" Lester-Mark Solomon joined the ARC as an administrative officer. He previously worked at the NCI Office of the Director (OD), where he served for several years as an administrative technician for the OD ARC. Mr. Solomon has administrative experience in a variety of areas and looks forward to taking on new challenges in DCEG.

""Cindy Zhou joined HREB as a predoctoral fellow. She received her bachelor of medicine (B.Med.) in preventive medicine from the West China Center of Medical Sciences, Sichuan University. For her B.Med. research project, Ms. Zhou examined socioeconomic and behavioral factors in breast cancer screening among women in southwest China. Previously, she served as a resident in the West China Hospital in Sichuan and interned with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Zigong, where she worked on the HIV/AIDS Sentinel Surveillance program. Currently, Ms. Zhou is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, D.C. In 2011, she worked with Dr. Ann Hsing, formerly a senior investigator in IIB, on several projects related to prostate cancer. For her doctoral dissertation, Ms. Zhou is working with Michael Cook, Ph.D. (HREB), on research pertaining to the etiology of prostate cancer.

""Bin Zhu, Ph.D., joined BB as a new tenure-track investigator. Dr. Zhu received his B.Sc. in biology science from Zhejiang University in China and a Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. During his doctoral study, he was involved in three multi-center clinical trials through the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network and two pancreatic cancer research projects. Dr. Zhu spent two years as a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Statistical Science and the Center for Human Genetics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he worked on the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby study. His methodological research areas of expertise include analysis of functional/longitudinal data, Bayesian modeling, and various types of high-dimensional genomic studies, such as admixture mapping and identification of copy number variations using single-nucleotide polymorphism data.

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