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Breast SPORE Seminar: The Role of African Ancestry in Breast Cancer Disparities
June 17, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Melissa B. Davis, PhD, serves as Scientific Director of the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes (ICSBCS) and Assistant Professor (Interim) of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Surgery and at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY. She is holds adjunct faculty appoints in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA and in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI.
Davis received her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Georgia where she completed groundbreaking model organism genomics work related to steroid hormone functions during development and metamorphosis. Her postdoctoral training in Functional Genomics and Systems Biology at Yale School of Medicine (Human Genetics) and the University of Chicago (Human Genetics and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology) as well as postdoctoral training in Cancer Health Disparities at the University of Chicago at the Interdisciplinary Center for Health Disparities, all led to her current work on biological determinants of cancer health disparities. She began her current research program with a specific focus on breast cancer and has recently expanded her research questions into prostate and gynecological cancers. Davis is a pioneer in the field of genomics and disparities, where the Davis lab has produced findings proving that unique genetic signatures and epigenetic mechanisms, in both breast and prostate tumors of African and African American patients, are enriched for mechanisms associated with aggressive tumor progression, including cell signaling and immunological responses. Her current findings involve utilizing genetic ancestry to unravel the environmental vs genetic influences in differing tumor biology among race/ethnic groups and has provided novel opportunities to develop precision medicine applications in minority populations. She will present findings emerging from the ICSBCS’s African-enriched cohort and the Polyethnic 1000 projects, which provide an example of how the inclusion of diverse ethnic groups can empower research designs to discover novel genetic risk and gene network modifications that ultimately result in unique tumor biology.
Zoom Meeting Link (Passcode: SPORE)