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.”
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!
Brittany Charlton completed her doctoral dissertation defense (The Epidemiology of Oral Contraceptive Use and Long-Term Health Effects) on Wednesday March 12, 2014.
Rebecca Graff completed her doctoral dissertation defense (Molecular Subclassification of Prostate Cancer: The Epidemiology of TMPRSS2:ERG) on Friday, March 14, 2014.
May 15, 2013
Young Talent in Population Science at HSPH and DF/HCC Showcased
The inaugural “Celebration of Young Investigators in Cancer Science,” organized by the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) and the Harvard School of Public Health, was held on May 15, 2013 at a hall over at Simmons College.
The purpose of the gathering was to tap into the unique reservoir of new ideas, innovation, and energy that comes from the Center’s early-career investigators by providing a forum for discussion, sharing, and establishing new collaborations.
The day began with an intimate lunch between the event’s plenary speaker — Dr. William Nelson who is Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins – and several young investigators from HSPH and their mentors. The larger event followed a packed room of faculty, students, and researchers from across the institutions at DF/HCC was there to see 32 junior investigators highlight important research in several areas of population science, including epidemiology, biostatistics, outcomes, diversity and survivorship.
Dr. Edward Benz (Director, DF/HCC) opened up the occasion with introductory comments and an introduction for the plenary speaker Dr. Nelson, who gave a provocative plenary talk entitled “Personalizing Medicine at the Bedside becomes Individualizing the Health of Populations.” Dr. Nelson’s engaging presentation was followed by a brief question and answer period that allowed many of the young investigators to ask questions about the future of population science and about the many ways that the discipline is changing and becoming more translational.
Dr. Lorelei Mucci (Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology, DF/HCC) and Dr. Giovanni Parmigiani (Associate Director, Population Science, DF/HCC) kicked off a series of stimulating short oral presentations on a diverse range of research topics by the young investigators. These presentations were followed by poster sessions discussions, overseen by Dr. Meir Stampfer (Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology, DF/HCC) that were viewed in small groups and led by faculty that generated active interchanges.
Dr. David Hunter (Dean of Academic Affairs, HSPH) gave the closing remarks of the afternoon, and a reception followed.
The event was sponsored by the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Programs of Biostatistics, Cancer Epidemiology, Prostate Cancer and the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology.