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AACR Awards 44 Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards

March 20, 2012
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CHICAGO — The American Association for Cancer Research is awarding 44 Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held here March 31 – April 4.

The award, now in its 27th year, is intended to enhance the education and training of minority researchers and increase the visibility and recognition of minorities involved in cancer research. It provides funds for the participation of early-career, meritorious minority scientists at the Annual Meeting. Scholars are chosen from minority institutions and the larger bodies of universities, colleges and research institutions based on their qualifications, references from mentors and an estimation of the professional benefit to the awardees.

The award is sponsored by a grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Additionally, Merck Oncology has agreed to provide support to fund the participation of young minority investigators.

The recipients of the 2012 Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards include:

  • Maria M. Abreu, B.S., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
    Abstract #4978. The C/EBPbeta isoform, liver-enriched inhibitory protein (LIP) induces cell death in breast cancer cell lines;
  • Lauren Amable, Ph.D., University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.
    Abstract #5613. A specific isoform of Gli1 binds the Gli-binding-site of the c-jun and c-fos promoters;
  • Ernest K. Amankwah, Ph.D., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Center, Tampa, Fla.
    Abstract #2615. Genetic variations in angiogenesis-related genes in prostate cancer recurrence;
  • Oluwatoyin A. Asojo, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.
    Abstract #4746. Structural studies of human glioma pathogenesis-related protein 1 (GLIPR1);
  • Tameka A. Bailey, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.
    Abstract #1221. Microscopy-based high throughput screen for the mechanistic analyses of ErbB2 degradation in response to HSP90-targeted therapeutics;
  • Erica N. Bozeman, B.E., Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.
    Abstract #3537. Manipulation of local and systemic immune suppression by GPI-anchored immune stimulatory proteins;
  • Rebecca Joyce Burkhalter, B.S., University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
    Abstract #2472. Peritoneal mechanobiology and metastatic success in epithelial ovarian cancer;
  • Linette Castillo-Pichardo, Ph.D., Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
    Abstract #2142. Dietary grape polyphenol resveratrol regulates Rac activity to increase mammary tumor growth and metastasis;
  • Tainya C. Clarke, M.P.H., University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.
    Abstract #3577. A decade of changed behavior: Trends in screening adherence and incidence 2000-2010;
  • Shahnjayla K. Connors, Ph.D., M.P.H., H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Fla.;
  • Leah M. Cook, Ph.D., University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala.
    Abstract #3416. Ubiquitous Brms1 expression is critical for mammary carcinoma metastasis suppression via promotion of apoptosis;
  • Rachel Cooper, M.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.
    Abstract #2114. Trypanosoma brucei: A model to evaluate joint contribution of BRCA2 and PARP in DNA damage repair;
  • Valerie A. Cortez, B.S., University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
    Abstract #3294. A novel inducible mammary gland-specific PELP1 murine breast cancer model;
  • Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate, Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
    Abstract #2357. Novel transgenic animal model of salivary gland tumors;
  • Alejandra De Angulo, B.S., University of Texas at Austin, DPRI, Austin, Texas
    Abstract #3553. Modulation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways by aging T-lymphocytes contributes to a more malignant phenotype in prostate epithelial cells;
  • Romone M. Fancy, B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala.
    Abstract #4754. Quantitative characterization of calmodulin and Fas death domain interactions;
  • Lauren L. Fonseca, B.S., University of Hawai’i Kaka’ako Campus, Honolulu, Hawaii
    Abstract #2144. RasGRp1 induces autophagy in primary epidermal keratinocytes resembling fail-safe mechanisms triggered by oncogenic Ras;
  • Kyle E. Francis, M.S., Institution of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh, U.K.
    Abstract #3642. Phospho-CHK1 as a prognostic biomarker in ovarian cancer and a potential target in platinum-resistant disease;
  • Evan Gomes, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando Cancer Research Institute, Orlando, Fla.
    Abstract #2859. Dual targeting of protein tyrosine kinase c-Src and protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 is a novel therapeutic strategy that induces potent inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell viability in vitro and tumor progression in vivo;
  • Engda Hagos, Ph.D., Colgate University, Hamilton, N.Y.
    Abstract #2028. Krüppel-like factor 4 null mouse embryonic fibroblasts exhibit DNA repair defects post exposure to gamma-irradiation;
  • Chanae R. Hardamon, B.S., University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif.
    Abstract #5228. Inhibition of myeloid cell PI3Kγ is a potential therapeutic approach to treat pancreatic cancer;
  • Ashley C. Huderson, B.S., Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.
    Abstract #5459. Benzo(a)pyrene biotransformation enzyme expression, activities and metabolite disposition in ApcMin mouse colon and liver is altered by resveratrol exposure;
  • Tiffany A. Katz, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
    Abstract #1052. Synergy between inhibition of novel histone demethylase (LSD2) and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) in modulating gene expression and inhibiting growth in human breast cancer cells;
  • Laurimer Kuilan-Torres, B.S., University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Abstract #3078. Effects of neuregulins in the regulation of EGFR in breast cancer cell lines;
  • Taoreed O. Lawal, B.S., Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.
    Abstract #2890. Image-guided transcatheter intra-arterial drug delivery of doxorubicin encapsulated iron oxide nanoparticles to liver tumors: safety and feasibility;
  • Stephania Libreros, B.S., Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla.
    Abstract #1393. Chitinase-3-like-1 protein overexpression in lung epithelial cells enhances breast cancer metastasis to the lung;
  • Florencia McAllister, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
    Abstract #2968. TH17 cells in early pancreatic tumorigenesis;
  • Lauren E. McCullough, M.S.P.H., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Abstract #2601. Polymorphisms in oxidative stress genes, physical activity and breast cancer risk;
  • Tanisha Z. McGlothen, B.S., Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.
    Abstract #785. Leptin-Notch-Wnt axis affects drug resistance in breast cancer;
  • Melania E. Mercado-Pimentel, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
    Abstract #2398. S100P/RAGE signaling activates AP1 and NF-kB in miR-21/RECK regulation;
  • Diana M. Merino, M.S., Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Abstract #2479. TP53 status as a marker of recurrence and survival in choroid plexus carcinomas;
  • Shermaine K. Mitchell-Ryan, M.S., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Mich.
    Abstract #3822. A tumor-targeted 5-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolate is a potent inhibitor of 5-amino-4-carboxamide formyltransferase in de novo purine biosynthesis;
  • Sylvestor A. Moses, M.S., University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Ariz.
    Abstract #3752. Nanoparticles delivery of a novel AKT/PDK1 inhibitor inhibits pancreatic cancer tumor growth;
  • Bethsaida I. Nieves, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
    Abstract #204. Molecular function of the RNA binding protein EWS in RNA processing;
  • Olorunseun O. Ogunwobi, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
    Abstract #2413. Human glypican-3 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma progression via induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition;
  • Trenis D. Palmer, B.S., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
    Abstract #4217. Engaging CD151 inhibits cell migration and metastasis through a novel mechanism involving the cell adhesion molecule ALCAM/CD166;
  • Deanna M. Patmore, B.S., Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Abstract #1433. TC21/R-Ras2 is a critical mediator of the Nf1 oncogenic switch;
  • Bethany Kristen Rankin, B.S., University at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y.
    Abstract #3901. Estrogen receptor conformation-sensing small molecules as novel anticancer agents;
  • Zeyana S. Rivera, Ph.D., University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
    Abstract #2514. CSPG4 as a target of antibody-based immunotherapy for malignant mesothelioma;
  • Raysa Rosario Acevedo, B.S., Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
    Abstract #1992. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) induces autophagy in inflammatory breast cancer by regulation of the mTOR signaling pathway;
  • Jennifer M. Rothberg, B.S., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Mich.
    Abstract #2467. Acidic pericellular pH increases contribution of cathepsin B to invasiveness of a human breast carcinoma cell line;
  • Sabrina L. Samudio-Ruiz, Ph.D., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
    Abstract #4083. Increased DNA methyltransferase activity and DNA methylation following epidermal growth factor stimulation in ovarian cancer cells;
  • Francisco J. Sánchez-Rivera, B.S., David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
    Abstract #2957. Uncovering tumor-specific components of the p53 pathway using mouse models and RNAi; and
  • Cherease R. Street, B.S., City University of New York Medical School, New York, N.Y.
    Abstract #3891. NOSH-aspirin, a novel nitric oxide- and hydrogen sufide-releasing hybrid is a potent inhibitor of colon cancer cell growth.
# # #

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About the AACR

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer.  

For more information about the AACR, visit

Media Contact:
Tara Yates
(215) 446-7110
In Chicago, March 31 – April 4:
(312) 528-8206

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