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UNC Lineberger’s Melissa Troester, PhD.

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of cancer research, has appointed UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Melissa Troester, PhD, to this year’s class of Komen Scholars.

A national expert in breast cancer disparities and interactions between the environment and breast genomics, Troester is one of six breast cancer researchers and three patient advocates who will serve in an advisory role to Komen, helping to guide the organization’s work to save lives and end breast cancer, particularly through the organization’s $1.1 billion research program.

“We are excited to welcome such incredible, knowledgeable individuals to the Komen Scholars. Whether they bring experience from the laboratories, the clinic, or as patients themselves, these individuals are assets to our organization and to the work we are doing to accelerate discovery of new advances in patient care,” said Victoria Wolodzko, senior vice president, Mission at Komen.

Troester is co-director of UNC Lineberger’s cancer epidemiology program and professor of epidemiology at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She also directs the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. Her research focuses on health equity and understanding interactions between the environment and breast genomics. Troester is the principal investigator of UNC Lineberger’s landmark Carolina Breast Cancer Study, which was launched in 1993 to investigate breast cancer epidemiology and biology, including why Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer.

“Susan G. Komen is a leader in advancing the science and treatment of breast cancer and my colleagues in this class of Komen Scholars are exceptional,” Troester said. “I am honored to contribute to Komen’s mission to identify and address the drivers of disparities in breast cancer outcomes for Black women.”

Chosen for their knowledge, leadership and contributions to breast cancer research, Komen Scholars provide scientific expertise and guidance to a variety of Komen programs, including leading Komen’s scientific peer review process. They also serve as experts and advocates for Komen at forums and events across the country.

With Troester’s appointment, UNC Lineberger has two members currently serving as Komen Scholars. Charles Perou, PhD, the May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology and co-director of the Breast Cancer Research Program, was appointed as a Komen Scholar in 1999. Lisa A. Carey, MD, FASCO, is a member of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board, which provides strategic guidance and direction for the organization’s research and scientific programs.

“These new Komen Scholars have all made transformative and lasting contributions to the breast cancer field and the communities they serve,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Komen’s chief scientific advisor and the executive vice president for research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. “Komen is fortunate to have their expert guidance to advance our mission and proud to support their ongoing pursuits, which are focused at reducing death and suffering from breast cancer.”