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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention


July 2013 - Linkage Newsletter

""Pierre Bigot, M.D., joined the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG) to pursue a yearlong research fellowship as a visiting urologist. Dr. Bigot comes to the Division from Angers, France, where he received his medical degree from the University of Angers School of Medicine. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in physiology and pathophysiology at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie in Paris. Dr. Bigot’s previous work includes proteomics and clinical and molecular research studies of renal cancer. At LTG, he works under the mentorship of Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Chief of LTG and Director of the NCI Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR). Dr. Bigot is focused on developing analytical expertise in renal cancer epidemiologic and clinical studies, specifically post–genome-wide association study fine mapping, and functional characterization of renal cancer risk loci on 12p11.23.

""Benjamin Booth, M.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a predoctoral fellow. Mr. Booth received his M.P.H. from the University of Iowa in University Heights and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Mr. Booth is working with Mary H. Ward, Ph.D. (OEEB), on a study of childhood cancers in relation to parental occupational and environmental pesticide exposures in the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium.

Laura Burke, M.P.H., left the Genetic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) to accept a research associate position at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics in Bethesda, Maryland.

Yu-Cheng Chen, Ph.D., left OEEB to become an assistant investigator at the National Environmental Health Research Center of the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan.

Charles Chung, Ph.D., left LTG to accept a scientist position at CGR in Gaithersburg, Maryland, through SAIC-Frederick, Inc.

Roberto Flores, Ph.D., M.P.H., left the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) for a position in the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention.

Asieh Golozar, M.D., M.P.H., left GEB to accept a position at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hye-Kyung Kim, M.D., left LTG to accept a research fellow position in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the NCI Center for Cancer Research.

Indu Kohaar, Ph.D., left LTG to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia, where she plans to work in academia.

""Luyang Liu returned to LTG as a postbaccalaureate fellow after working as a summer fellow in 2009, 2010, and 2011. During her summer fellowships, she contributed to the functional analysis of single nucleotide polymorphism associations with prostate and bladder cancers. Ms. Liu received a B.A. in biochemistry from the Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, New York, in 2012. She rejoined the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., where she is investigating the effects of IFNL4 on signaling in HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

Pamela (Pami) Lotinsky left the Office of Education (OE) to pursue a new business venture, Los Lobos Burritos, in Rockville, Maryland.

Morgan Marks, Ph.D., left IIB for a position at GlaxoSmithKline in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Adam Mumy left LTG for a position as a tissue culture associate at MedImmune in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Gila Neta, Ph.D., M.P.P., left the Radiation Epidemiology Branch to join the Implementation Science Team at the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences as a program officer.

""Olusegun Onabajo, Ph.D., joined LTG as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D. Dr. Onabajo graduated with distinction with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. He received his Ph.D. in cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he functionally characterized the role of mammalian actin binding protein 1 in B-cell endocytosis and antigen presentation. Dr. Onabajo later conducted postdoctoral research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of B-cell dysfunction during HIV infection. Dr. Onabajo is interested in defining cancer-related molecular mechanisms of genetic associations identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Under the direction of Dr. Prokunina-Olsson in LTG, he will conduct functional studies on the novel human interferon, IFNL4, recently discovered in the Prokunina-Olsson group, in relation to cancers induced by infectious pathogens. Dr. Onabajo will also work on functional evaluation of regions identified by GWAS for bladder cancer.

""Melanie Palazzo joined OE as a fellowship program analyst. Ms. Palazzo received her B.S. in government with a public policy specialization from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She will be working with Jackie Lavigne, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief of OE, and Kristin Kiser, M.H.A., M.S., OE’s fellowship coordinator, to facilitate OE programs, meetings, and fellow-related activities.

""Orestis Panagiotou, M.D., joined the Biostatistics Branch (BB) as a postdoctoral fellow. He graduated with a medical degree from the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, where he subsequently pursued a Ph.D. in genetic epidemiology and will soon defend his thesis. Dr. Panagiotou has worked on various topics, including genome-wide association studies, meta-analysis, and clinical and molecular epidemiology. In BB, he is working under the mentorship of Sholom Wacholder, Ph.D., to develop expertise in the primary analysis of epidemiologic and clinical studies. Dr. Panagiotou’s projects include addressing methodological questions regarding longitudinal changes in clinical measurements and behavior in relation to lung cancer, describing the joint effects of multi-level risk factors for lung cancer, and investigating new risk factors for liver cancer with pre-existing cirrhosis.

Colleen Pelser, Ph.D., left the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch (NEB) to become the regulatory coordinator at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore.

E. Christina Persson, Ph.D., left the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch (HREB) to accept a position as a senior researcher at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Bridgett Rahim-Williams, Ph.D., left IIB to return to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

""Preethi Raj, M.S., joined LTG as a program analyst/scientific communications editor. She obtained a B.A. in biology from Clark University in Southborough, Massachusetts, and an M.S. in epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ms. Raj’s previous work experience includes patient recruitment and study coordination in epidemiologic and clinical trials as well as non-governmental organization administration. She supports both LTG and CGR in their research efforts.

Jiansong Ren, Ph.D., left NEB for a position in the National Office for Cancer Prevention and Control at the National Cancer Center in Beijing, China.

""Linda Schultz, M.P.H., joined the Office of Communications and Special Initiatives (OCSI) as an NCI Health Communications Intern. Ms. Schultz received an M.P.H. in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While completing her degree, she worked for the University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research, where she developed tailored health messages for cancer-related research studies. In addition, Ms. Schultz worked for the University of Michigan Japanese Family Health Program in Ann Arbor on a campaign to educate parents about using sign language with their infants. Ms. Schultz is working with Jennifer Loukissas, M.P.P., and Saloni Nayar, M.P.H., both of OCSI, to prepare DCEG scientists for interviews, draft press releases, and respond to inquiries from Congress.

Mark E. Sherman, M.D., left HREB to become Chief of the Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Research Group in the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention.

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