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CCEP Postdoctoral Fellows

Alina Hamilton, PhD focuses her research on integrating computational pathology, genomics and epidemiology to study the tumor microenvironment and breast cancer racial disparities. Dr. Hamilton is a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellowship and the 2021 UNC Horizon Award, which recognizes dissertation research with high potential for making a significant impact on the well-being of North Carolina citizens. Alina is co-founder of the Pathobiology and Translational Science Student Committee, and co-founder of the UNC Women’s Health Multidisciplinary Consortium (WHMC), which seeks to advance research in women’s health through multidisciplinary collaboration and early career training. She serves as a peer mentor for UNC IMSD and BBSP programs, volunteers at the annual Susan G. Komen® Triangle Race for the Cure and participates in scientific outreach benefiting her local North Carolina community.
Kenneth Busby, DO is a fellow in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology who wants to maximize care for children with cancer. His research interest is leveraging advancements in diagnostic technology to improve cancer outcomes in both the domestic and global setting. As a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention fellow, Ken uses his expertise in implementation science to bring cutting-edge research to the intersection of oncology, nutrition, and integrative medicine. His multifaceted mentor team includes Megan Roberts, Thomas Alexander, and Alice Ammerman.


CCEP Predoctoral Fellows

Meredith Carson, MS is a predoctoral fellow in Nutrition. Her current research interests are in investigating the role that dietary interventions have on obesity-associated breast cancer outcomes. Her dissertation research will focus on determining if the Mediterranean-style dietary pattern can mitigate breast cancer development using preclinical murine models. Her mentor is Dr. Stephen Hursting.
Erin Coffman, MA is a predoctoral fellow. Her research interest is in improving adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivorship and outcomes and reducing disparities in cancer through digital behavior change interventions. Erin’s research focuses on using technology to improve dietary behaviors and increase physical activity.  Her dissertation will be a theory-based mobile-delivered behavioral intervention using wearable and connected health devices to improve physical activity and nutrition behaviors among AYAs. Her mentor is Carmina Valle.
Brianna Taffe, MPH completed a 2-year Cancer Research Training Award Fellowship in the Outcomes Research Branch of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program at the National Cancer Institute. Brianna earned her MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan in 2019.  Brianna’s research interests include community-based participatory research (CBPR), understanding relationships between social isolation/loneliness and health, mHealth, racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer health outcomes, and cancer symptom management.
Sarah Van Alsten is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology interested in the application of precision medicine and genomic algorithms for cancer classification and treatment diverse populations. Sarah’s current research focuses on methods to distinguish recurrent breast cancer from second primary tumors within the UNC-based Carolina Breast Cancer Study using DNA sequencing, though she is also interested in the social and biological determinants of cancer recurrence.