Meet the DCCPS New and Early Stage R01 Investigators

  • Juan P. Brito Campana, M.D., M.Sc.
    Mayo Clinic Rochester

    I became interested in thyroid cancer overdiagnosis after meeting a young lady with vocal cord paralysis who needed a tracheostomy after thyroid surgery for a small thyroid cancer found during unnecessary screening.
  • Kimberly Canter, Ph.D.
    Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
    Pediatric Psychologist and Psychosocial Researcher

    My interest in serving this population began in college, when a lightbulb went off during an introductory psychology class. I had planned to pursue a career in medicine but was much more interested in the opportunity to help patients and families cope and manage stressors. My personal and professional experiences with cancer have fueled my passion to provide high-quality, accessible psychosocial care to families as they navigate what is likely one of the worst times of their lives.
  • Jennifer R. Dahne, Ph.D.
    Medical University of South Carolina
    Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Health Researcher

    I became interested in technology-based interventions because of the inherent reach that these types of platforms have. Digital health and telehealth interventions have the potential to dramatically increase access to our cancer prevention interventions, which could significantly improve public health. By adapting our existing evidence-based treatments for delivery via remote platforms, we can bring treatments to our patients, rather than waiting for them to come to us.
  • Catherine S. Diefenbach, M.D.
    New York University School of Medicine
    Lymphoma Immunology Focused Translational Researcher

    I remember when I first learned that in Hodgkin lymphoma, unlike almost any other malignancy, the malignant tumor cells comprise less than 0.1% of the total tumor volume, and the remainder of the tumor bulk are the patient's dendritic cells, macrophages, T cells and B cells. This inspired my desire to understand how lymphoma manipulates the immune system for its own growth and survival, and to address this in a myriad of ways both at the bench and at the beside.
  • Ashley S. Felix, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Ohio State University
    Cancer Epidemiologist

    What I love most about epidemiology is that we use data to make an impact in the lives of people who need it the most. In my work as a cancer epidemiologist, I focus on understanding why cancer health disparities exist so that we can provide data-informed solutions to reduce the unequal cancer burden experienced by minoritized people. Our goal is to create healthier environments so that people can live their best lives.
  • Norah L. Henry, M.D., Ph.D.
    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    Breast Oncologist and Clinical and Translational Researcher

    Every week in clinic I see the struggles that patients with breast cancer face trying to tolerate their life-saving cancer medications. This has inspired me to understand what underlies the difficulties with medication compliance, and to explore interventions to reduce these challenges. I strive to help people keep taking their medications while maintaining their quality of life.
  • Matthew C. Hocking, Ph.D.
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    Pediatric Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    As a graduate student, I worked in a multidisciplinary clinic where I conducted psychological consultations for survivors of childhood cancer. The experience of meeting these youth who had been cured of their cancer but were experiencing significant health problems and developmental issues had a substantial impact on me. I became particularly fascinated by the effects of cancer treatments on the developing brain and the different problems that occur as a result.
  • Bruce L. Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H.
    University of Pittsburgh
    Urologic Oncologist and Health Services Researcher

    When I witnessed patients dying from curable cancers, I realized I wanted to be part of the solution. I sought to care for patients clinically and contribute more broadly through my commitment to impactful research.
  • Kelly Kenzik, Ph.D.
    Boston University Medical Campus
    Epidemiologist and Health Services Researcher

    I have been driven by the notion that we can create the best medical centers and the most advanced therapies, yet these are only accessible and usable by a fragment of the population in need. This has continued to motivate me to pursue a line of research that helps to bridge this gap.
  • Tricia Z. King, Ph.D.
    Georgia State University
    Clinical Neuropsychologist and Cancer Survivorship Research Scientist

    My fascination with neurodevelopment began as I observed disruption in emerging skills at the time of treatment and examined the individual differences in skill trajectories years later. My mission is to identify contributors to these individual differences within a bio-psycho-socio-cultural context. These methods will be used to inform precision medicine by personalizing chemoradiation treatment and prophylactic interventions to prevent, mitigate, and manage cognitive impairment in medulloblastoma.
  • Folasade P. May, M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil.
    University of California - Los Angeles
    Physician Scientist

    My career and research are driven by my basic belief that all individuals, regardless of background, should have access to high-quality healthcare and health information that empowers them to make their personal health decisions.
  • Shivan J. Mehta, M.D., M.B.A., M.S.H.P.
    University of Pennsylvania
    Gastroenterologist and Health Care Delivery Scientist

    An important moment for my research interests was realizing the importance of co-creating health care delivery interventions with clinical and operational leaders while employing rigorous research methods such as prospective randomization in pragmatic trials. This process has identified delivery programs with high potential to improve outcomes while also creating generalizable knowledge that can advance the science of population-based cancer screening.
  • Aaron P. Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H.
    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Medical Oncologist and Health Services Researcher

    I first became interested in understanding the causes – and the resultant harms – of unwarranted variation in medical care during medical school at NYU. NYU students divide their time between the private Tisch hospital and Bellevue, a New York City municipal hospital. I was struck by how, just a few city blocks apart, different patients were simultaneously suffering from overtreatment and undertreatment.
  • Thaddeus Pace, Ph.D.
    University of Arizona
    Biopsychologist and Stress and Health Researcher

    A few years ago I became aware of research by my colleagues and others that found that the psychological well-being of cancer survivors and their supportive partners is related, and actually tightly interconnected. I was wowed; from that moment on, I wanted to study the benefits of compassion meditation for breast cancer survivors and their partners.
  • Anna E. Prizment, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    University of Minnesota
    Molecular Epidemiologist of Chronic Disease

    When I learned that cancer survivors age faster than cancer-free persons of the same age, I wanted to understand how cancer and cancer treatment affect the aging process. As soon as the measurement of 5000 proteins became available in the ARIC study, I decided to create a novel proteomic aging clock to estimate accelerated aging in cancer survivors. The ultimate goal of my study is to delay the aging in this population.
  • Katharine A. Rendle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    University of Pennsylvania
    Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Implementation Scientist

    My "ah-ha" moment came when my postdoctoral mentor articulated to me that the advancement of science is helped, not hindered, by people who work at the intersections, and encouraged me to embrace my identity as a boundary spanner, not try to fit neatly into one field or another. This advice continues to drive my program of research today.
  • Erin Rogers, Dr.P.H.
    New York University School of Medicine
    Public Health Researcher

    While working as a smoking cessation research coordinator in safety-net clinics, I realized that traditional approaches to treating tobacco use were ignoring the structural and social determinants of health that were making it difficult for patients to engage in treatment and quit smoking.
  • Lori C. Sakoda, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
    Cancer Epidemiologist

    My commitment to advancing etiologic and translational research on lung cancer is driven by the loss of my father to the disease, now over 30 years ago, and the recognition that lung cancer continues to touch the lives of many, as it remains the leading cause of cancer mortality.
  • Iakovos Toumazis, Ph.D.
    MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Industrial Engineer/Operations Researcher

    My interest in health care, and more specifically in cancer care, began when my own family was impacted by cancer. I was in the first year of my PhD program working on risk mitigation for hazardous materials transportation. Since then, my career and research are focused on developing mathematical models using principles from operations research to optimize cancer care at the personalized level.
  • Kirk J. Wangensteen, M.D., Ph.D.
    University of Pennsylvania

    I am driven to link genes to associated functions in liver diseases and I hope to make discoveries that make positive impacts on patients.
  • Chong Wu
    MD Anderson Cancer Center

    As a biostatistician, I was fascinated by the opportunity to collaborate with researchers with diverse backgrounds, ranging from pure statisticians to epidemiologists to clinicians. Motivated by the challenging problems imposed by complex genetic and genomics datasets, my research aims to develop novel statistical methods and software that can help us better understand the etiology and improve risk stratification for cancer.
  • Lang Wu, Ph.D.
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    Genetic and Molecular Epidemiologist

    During the first year of my PhD study, I had hands-on experience analyzing large-scale Genome-Wide Association Study data. I quickly decided that I would pursue this area of genetic epidemiology as the direction of my scientific career.