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2019 Spring Town Hall Meeting

, by DCEG Staff

In May, DCEG Director Stephen Chanock, M.D., welcomed staff to the spring town hall meeting where he talked about recent scientific achievements across the Division, highlighted major research initiatives and infrastructure development, and recognized accomplishments over the past six months. He gave special tribute to staff who have made substantial scientific contributions and service to the Division. The following were awarded:

Minkyo Song, Jung Kim, Yei Eun Shin, Stephen Chanock, Pedre Saint-Maurice, Maria Demarco, Jared Fisher

Fellowship Achievement Awards

Fellowship Achievement Awards, which come with a stipend increase at the next appointment renewal, honored fellows who excelled during the past year. Recipients: Maria Demarco, Ph.D., M.P.H., Jared Fisher, Ph.D., M.P.H., Gregory Haber, Ph.D., Ashley Jermusyk, Ph.D, Jung Kim, Ph.D., Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., Yei Eun Shin, Ph.D., Minkyo Song, Ph.D., and Yeon Soo Yeom, Ph.D.

Outstanding Research Papers of 2018

Awards for DCEG Outstanding Research Papers of 2018 were given to fellows and staff scientists or staff clinicians. The DCEG Senior Advisory Group judged the competition based on the papers' impact, innovation, and clarity of thought and language.


Outstanding Research Paper by a Fellow

Kara Michels, Erikka Loftfield, Stephen Chanock, Tongwu Zhang, Ana Best, Catherine Lerro

Ana Best, Ph.D.
Premature Mortality Projections in the USA through 2030: A Modelling Study. Lancet Public Health. Dr. Best has recently moved to the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis.

Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Five-Year Risk of Cervical Precancer Following p16/Ki-67 Dual-Stain Triage of HPV-Positive Women.” JAMA Oncology.

Catherine Lerro, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Alachlor Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study: An Updated Analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Erikka Loftfield, Ph.D.
Association of Coffee Drinking with Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism: Findings from the U.K. Biobank. JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kara Michels, Ph.D.
Modification of the Associations Between Duration of Oral Contraceptive Use and Ovarian, Endometrial, Breast, and Colorectal Cancers. JAMA.

Outstanding Research Paper by a Staff Scientist

Tongwu Zhang, Stephen Chanock, Li Cheung

Li Cheung, Ph.D.
Preventing Lung Cancer Mortality by Computed Tomography Screening: The Effect of Risk-Based Versus U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Eligibility Criteria, 2005–2015. Annals Internal Medicine.

Tongwu Zhang, Ph.D.
Cell-Type-Specific eQTL of Primary Melanocytes Facilitates Identification of Melanoma Susceptibility Genes. Genome Research.


DCEG Intramural Research Awards

Doratha Byrd, Sarah Jackson, Stephen Chanock, Bryan Bassig, Zhiwei Liu; Inset: Stephen Chanock, Rebecca Hennessy. Yeon Soo Yeom not pictured.

Intramural Research Awards (IRAs) are competitive funding opportunities designed to foster creative, high-impact research by fellows and tenure-track investigators. Proposals are evaluated on their potential for significant scientific or public health impact, innovation, interdisciplinary nature, ability to achieve the objectives within the proposed time frames and with the proposed resources, and programmatic relevance to DCEG’s mission. Out of the many excellent proposals submitted, six proposals were selected:

Doratha Byrd, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Associations of colonic mucosal-adherent bacterial profiles and circulating microbial metabolites with colorectal adenoma among average-risk women

Bryan Bassig, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Evaluation of the serum albumin Cys34 adductome in relation to occupational exposure to diesel exhaust: A cross-sectional molecular epidemiology study in China

Rebecca Hennessey, Ph.D.
A gene expression-based single-cell CRISPR screen for interrogating gene-regulatory effects of common and familial melanoma-predisposing non-coding sequence variants

Sarah Jackson, Ph.D.
Cancer risk in transgender individuals: A prospective cohort study

Zhiwei Liu, Ph.D.
HLA homozygosity and risk of HBV-related liver diseases

Yeon Soo Yeom, Ph.D.
A novel method to estimate normal tissue doses for a large-scale epidemiologic cohort of proton therapy patients

DCEG Informatics Tool Challenge

The DCEG Informatics Tool Challenge was designed to stimulate awareness and adoption of new internet and informatics technologies to improve effectiveness and efficiency throughout DCEG’s research portfolio. Proposals were evaluated for their innovative use of technology to address a specific research need, the ability for the project to be completed within one year of initiation, and the cost, which was not to exceed $20,000. Proposals were reviewed by a DCEG committee for utility to epidemiologic and genetic research; four were selected. Read more about the winning proposals for the 2019 Informatics Tool Challenge.

Outstanding Mentor Award

Jonathan Hoffman and Stephen Chanock (above) and Britton Trabert and Stephen Chanock (below)

Mentoring is a core value of the Division; DCEG fellows nominate and vote for the Outstanding Mentor Award annually. This year, Jonathan Hoffman, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Britton Trabert, Ph.D., were selected in recognition of their exceptional commitment to the growth and productivity of junior scientists. Highlights from their nominations cited the following qualities:

"Dr. Hoffman embodies the qualities of respect, patience, flexibility, and motivation, and he continually demonstrates his ability to be an outstanding mentor through his actions. He recognizes his goal as a mentor is not to create a carbon copy of himself but to help fellows achieve their own career objectives. Jon is fully committed to the success of the fellows he mentors."

"Dr. Trabert finds time for all of her trainees. She is a patient teacher who never seems to be in a rush and does not expect trainees to be experts in all areas. Britton takes time to learn about her fellows’ career goals and is supportive of their pursuit of career development activities. Further, she is a passionate scientist whose enthusiasm and curiosity are contagious and inspiring."


Special Appreciation Award

Catherine Schairer

Each year, the Division recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the regular call of duty and provided a tremendous service to their office, branch, or the Division as a whole. This year, Catherine Schairer, Ph.D., was recognized for her tireless leadership of the NCI Special Studies Institutional Review Board, for which she served as a member for 10 years and Chair since December 2010. She helped guide the SSIRB and NCI researchers skillfully through the ethical challenges of the genomic revolution and large consortia science.


Distinguished Scientific Service Award

Wei Hu and Stephen Chanock

This award recognizes a postdoctoral, predoctoral, or postbaccalaureate fellow, or a Staff Scientist/Clinician who has made significant contributions to facilitating research and creating or managing resources. Scientific activities include but are not limited to, fieldwork, methods development to inform field activities, and collection of data and samples.

Wei Hu, Ph.D., received this year’s award in recognition of his outstanding work and invaluable contributions in supporting molecular epidemiology studies of lung cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia, and studies of populations exposed to important known or suspected carcinogens.

Dr. Hu made invaluable contributions to the exposure assessment component of the case-control studies of lung cancer among non-smoking women in Xuanwei and Fuyuan, China. In addition, he has played a critical role in the design of the Asia component of the Sherlock-Lung study, and most recently did outstanding work supervising the selection and shipment of frozen lung tumor tissues for whole-genome sequencing in China. He continues to play a key role in the AsiaLymph study, maintaining excellent communication with each study center, coordinating the fieldwork, supervising quality control review, coordinating sample shipments and DNA extraction, developing and monitoring contracts, and preparing material for IRB renewals.

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