These national and international postdoctoral fellows are among an élite group of researchers who have successfully competed for a two-year fellowship award in cancer prevention and control, early detection, and risk assessment. Funding for these awards is provided by MD Anderson Cancer Center, The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), Janice Davis Gordon Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship in Colorectal Cancer Prevention, and the Halliburton Employees Fellowship in Cancer Prevention.
After receiving a medical degree from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon, Joel Bertrand Fokom Domgue, M.D., worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Obala District Hospital, in a semi-rural town near Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon. During this time, he observed a high incidence of women presenting with symptoms of gynecological malignancies, with no knowledge of cancer or cancer prevention. Dr. Sanjay Shete (Biostatistics), Dr. Kathleen Schmeler (Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine), Dr. Erich Sturgis (Head & Neck Surgery), and Dr. Shine Chang (Epidemiology), all serve as mentors. His research project, Self-Sampling for HPV Testing to Improve Cervical Cancer Screening Coverage in hard-to-reach Populations: A Pilot Study in the Rio Grand Valley, Texas, USA, will provide important insights into strategies for cancer prevention interventions.
Natalia Heredia, Ph.D. has research interests in cancer prevention for the Hispanic population through the energy-balance behaviors of physical activity and diet. She received a B.A. in psychology and policy studies from Rice University, an M.P.H. in health promotion from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in behavioral sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center. In her project, "Understanding Factors Contributing to the Rise of Metabolic Disease and Associated Liver Cancer Among Hispanics," Dr. Heredia will explore how health behaviors, neighborhood environments, lack of information on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and existing NAFLD clinical practice contribute to the rise of metabolic disease, liver disease, and liver cancer in Hispanics. With guidance from mentor Dr. Lorna McNeill (Health Disparities Research), Dr. Heredia's research will help prevent liver cancers in the Hispanic community.
Sukh Makhnoon, Ph.D., completed both a M.S. in genetic epidemiology and Ph.D. in public health genetics from the University of Washington. Her dissertation addressed health psychology and patient-provider interactions and Dr. Makhnoon's goal is to lead efforts to ease translation of new genomic applications in clinical genomics by developing education and communication tools to help providers, patients, and their families better understand and discuss genetic and genomic information. Dr. Susan Peterson (Behavioral Science) serves as primary mentor; Sukh's research will focus on adherence to cancer genetic test-related recommendation, as well as written and familial communication of uncertain genetic test results.
Dr. Nathan Parker's primary research interest is in designing and evaluating exercise programs to improve outcomes during cancer treatment and survivorship. Nathan developed personal and professional interests in exercise promotion while completing his Master of Public Health degree at the University of Texas School of Public Health and subsequently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in kinesiology at the University of Houston, where he completed his doctorate in 2017. Nate is mentored by Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist (Behavioral Science) and Dr. Matthew Katz (Surgical Oncology) and his project title is Evaluating the Role of Physical Activity in Pancreatic Cancer Survivorship.
Anushree Sharma, Ph.D., received a B.S. in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a M.P.H. and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After receiving a CPRIT fellowship award in October 2017, Dr. Sharma began conducting analysis of National Health Interview Survey data (NHIS) to determine the prevalence of cancer screening behaviors among tobacco users. Dr. Irene Tami-Maury (Behavioral Science) and Dr. Sanjay Shete (Biostatistics) serve as mentors and provide quantitative training and guidance over her research. Dr. Sharma's project is titled, Cancer Screening Prevalence among Tobacco Users in the United States, and Dr. Andrew Hyland (Roswell Park Cancer Institute) and Dr. Cristine Delnevo (Rutgers) serve as co-mentors.
As a clinical psychologist, Ivan H.C. Wu, Ph.D., has a wealth of expertise in the capacities of both counselor and researcher. He completed his residency at the New Mexico VA Health Care System in Albuquerque, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. In graduate school, he studied psychosocial mental health risk (e.g., racial discrimination, sexual harassment, mental health stigma) and protective factors (e.g., counseling use, mindfulness) among racial/ethnic minorities. As a postdoc, he continued this line of research within a cancer prevention and control context examining environmental, interpersonal, and lifestyle (e.g., sleep, physical activity) predictors of health among African-American community members and Chinese-American breast cancer survivors. He is published in Supportive Care in Cancer, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Mindfulness, and JAMA Pediatrics journals. He is mentored by Drs. Lorna McNeill and Qian Lu (Health Disparities Research) and per Dr. McNeill, "his research is important and timely...as more evidence highlights mental health as an important health determinant, we need to better understand its contribution to cancer disparities.”
Jiali Zheng, Ph.D., has a B.S. degree in nutritional science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China, a M.P.H. in biostatistics from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of South Carolina. After training with Dr. Yong-bing Xiang at Shanghai Cancer Institute, she became interested in cancer and nutritional epidemiology. For her doctoral dissertation under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Steck, she used data from two well-characterized large U.S. national cohorts to investigate the interaction and mediation between dietary inflammatory potential and pancreatic cancer risk. During her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Zheng is working with mentors Dr. Carrie Daniel-MacDougall (Epidemiology) and Dr. Donghui Li (Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology) to examine The Role of Dietary Exposures, Microbiome and Genetic Polymorephisms in Multiple Gastrointestinal Cancer Outcomes, which is the title of her research project.
Dr. Preeti Kanikarla Marie's research, Targeting Platelet Function in Preventing Immune Evasion of Tumor Cells, reflects her scientific interests in understanding the extensive role of platelets in pre-malignancy and colorectal cancer. Dr. Marie received a M.S. degree in biotechnology from New York University and Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Louisiana State University. Dr. Scott Kopetz (Gastrointestinal Oncology) serves as primary mentor.
Dr. Lewins Walter's passion for colorectal disease research began during the pursuit of his first M.S. degree in molecular genetics, pathogenesis & immunity at Georgia State University, while working on acute inflammatory diseases within the GI tract. He later pursued a dual Ph.D. in molecular genetics & biochemistry and M.S. in bioinformatics at Georgia State University focusing on inflammation based colon cancer and the gut microbiota. In 2018, Dr. Walter joined the lab of his primary mentor, Dr. Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez (Clinical Cancer Prevention) and was awarded a Halliburton Employees Contribution Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship for his project titled, Colorectal Cancer Immunopervertive Strategies in Lynch Syndrome. Dr. Walter's aim is to revolutionize the care of patients affected by colorectal cancer.
Onyema Greg Chido-Amajuoyi, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., received a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from Igbinedion University, Nigeria. After which he worked as a clinician prior to enrolling at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, where he received an M.P.H. (Epidemiology). Under the mentorship of Dr. Sanjay Shete and co-mentors Dr. Paul Cinciripini (Chair, Behavioral Science) and Dr. Ernest Hawk (Vice President of Cancer Prevention), Onyema's postdoctoral research will investigate the Population-Level Assessment of HPV Vaccination Trends, Use of E-cigarettes to Quite Smoking and Cancer Screening Behaviors.
Margaret Raber, DrPH, has successfully competed three fellowship awards with the CPRTP at MD Anderson. Earlier in her career, she received a certificate in culinary arts from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London. She later obtained a B.S. in nutrition/food studies from New York University. While pursuing an M.P.H. from the University of Texas, she was awarded an NCI R25E graduate research fellowship. As Maggie was working on her doctoral degree in public health from the University of Texas, she was awarded an NCI predoctoral fellowship. After graduating, Dr. Raber received an MD Anderson postdoctoral fellowship to develop her innovative project, The Measurement and Impact of Healthy Cooking Behaviors in Nutrition Interventions Among Cancer Survivors and High Risk Adults, under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist of Behavioral Science
Cancer Prevention Postdoc Fellows in Action
The CPRTP NCI R25T predoctoral and postdoctoral cohort of 2015 – 2018.
Dr. Maggie Raber's research project is evaluating cooking and health for both adults at risk of cancer and in adult cancer survivors.
CPRIT postdoc, Dr. Ivan Wu, delivers a 90-second Elevator Speech during the 2018 CPRTP Summer Trainee Forum.
This is dedication! CPRTP Postdoc, Dr. Nathan Parker (& new father to ‘Kirby’) gives his Elevator Speech via a pre-recorded video, for the 2018 Summer Trainee Forum.
CPRTP Halliburton postdoc, Dr. Lewins Walter, gives an Elevator Speech about colorectal cancer immunoperventive strategies in lynch syndrome during the 2018 CPRTP Summer Trainee Forum.
CPRTP directors, Drs. Carrie Cameron and Shine Chang, present Dr. Georges Khalil, R25T Postdoc Fellow 2015-2017, a certificate of completion.
Behavioral Science Assistant Professor, Dr. Irene Tami-Maury (with 2018 summer graduate student, Marjorie Biel) is also a CPRTP Halliburton postdoc alumni (2012-2014) and active summer and postdoctoral mentor.