Harvey Fineberg Fellowship Winners
Doctoral candidates, Tianyi Huang and Leslie Farland, were awarded the Harvey Fineberg Fellowship for 2014-2015.
During the 1-year training as recipient of the Harvey V. Fineberg Fellowship in Cancer Prevention, Tianyi will work on his proposed doctoral dissertation projects. He will use data from the two nurses cohorts to explore several novel associations in the context of ovarian cancer central to stress-mediated carcinogenic pathways. The currently on-going project found a modestly elevated risk of ovarian cancer for women with depression, a common mood disorder pathogenically related to chronic stress. Next, he will examine ovarian cancer risk in relation to use of beta-blockers, with the hypothesis that this widely used antihypertensive drug is mechanistically plausible to reduce ovarian cancer risk by inhibiting the activation of beta2-adrenergic receptor pathway. This pathway is a canonical biologic stress mediator that has been shown to promote ovarian tumor growth and invasiveness in animal models. His third project will further look into how the associations with depression or beta-blockers use may differ by expression status of beta2-adrenergic receptors in ovarian tumor tissues and what impact the beta2-adrenergic receptor expressions may have on tumor characteristics and ovarian cancer survival. Other current or potential projects include investigations of physical activity and ovarian cancer risk, stress hormones and ovarian cancer risk, and sex hormones and depression. Meanwhile, he is open to research opportunities on other risk factors and cancer sites to foster potential collaborations for future interdisciplinary research that could extend to his postdoctoral career. He will continue to attend seminars, workshops and collaborative meetings and take advantage of the many resources available in the Harvard medical community to build an academic network in his current area of research interest. Whenever possible, he will also submit his research findings for presentations at scientific meetings. “This research training supported by the Harvey Finebarg Fellowship will improve my analytical skills, advance my understanding of ovarian cancer etiology and facilitate my transition to a postdoctoral scholar and an independent researcher.”
Leslie’s current research and dissertation work is focused on the intersection between reproductive health and cancer. While studying for her undergraduate and master’s degrees she researched reproductive and perinatal health. She is looking forward to applying her knowledge and experience studying the complex nature of reproductive health to the study of breast cancer prevention and research. As is the experience of so many women in the United States, breast cancer has affected Leslie’s family and friends, which is why she became interested in studying cancer prevention. While there are many facets of cancer prevention, the Fellowship specifically will help support her research on the associations between infertility treatment, endometriosis (a gynecologic disorder affecting ~10% of women), and risk for breast cancer.
Her dissertation is broken into four aims analyzing the relationship between endometriosis, breast cancer, and breast cancer risk factors. Specifically she hopes to analyze the relationships between i) endometriosis and breast cancer, ii) endometriosis and breast density, iii) endometriosis and benign breast disease, and iv) lactation and the risk of endometriosis. During the Fellowship, she also hopes to analyze the relationship between breast cancer and another area of expertise, infertility treatment.
The hormonal and inflammatory relationships that this research may uncover may have important implications for other cancer etiologies and may identify a group of women at greater risk of malignancies. This research will also have considerable implications for appropriate cancer screening strategies among women with endometriosis and infertility.
“I am grateful for the support of the Harvey V. Fineberg Fellowship in Cancer Prevention so that I may continue my research on reproductive health and cancer.”
Congratulations! (June 2014)
Marina Kvaskoff was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Fellow Leadership Award from the Center for Faculty Development and Diversity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) for her “achievements and dedication to serve the postdoctoral and wider scientific community.” In addition, she received the 2014 Annual Peer Mentor Award from BWH’s Office for Research Careers. Conrgatulations, Marina!