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Elizabeth Hibler, PhD. Dr. Hibler is a recent graduate who completed her doctoral degree in April 2011 in Epidemiology at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation explored genetic and environmental factors associated with circulating levels of vitamin D metabolite. Dr. Hibler initially received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Purdue University before going on to complete a Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Hibler worked for the Indiana State Department of Health as a District Public Health Coordinator, U.S. Healthcare and Public Health Policy Teaching Assistant, Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response Program Director, and Quality Assurance Epidemiologist. During this time, Dr. Hibler was awarded a Public Health Leadership Fellowship from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Hibler began her R25 fellowship in May 2011 and has undergone training in molecular epidemiology and genetic analysis in cancer prevention and control. Her R25 research aims to test the roles of two proteins, Gc-globulin and megalin, in the delivery and uptake of vitamin D metabolites in colorectal carcinoma cells. She works with primary mentor Peter Jurutka, PhD (basic medical sciences), as well as Elizabeth Jacobs, PhD (epidemiology and biostatistics), and Chengcheng Hu, PhD (epidemiology and biostatistics). Dr. Hibler selected this team of mentors for their substantial experience in laboratory work, analysis of high-dimensional genetic data, as well as expertise in the vitamin D endocrine system.
Jessica Miller, PhD, Dr. Miller completed her doctoral degree in November 2010 from the Nutritional Sciences program at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation research explored the bioavailability and disposition of the anti-cancer agent, limonene, and implications for breast cancer prevention. She initially received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in chemistry and math from Hillsdale College in Michigan before going on to complete a Masters in Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona. Her Masters thesis examined the development and validation of a novel assay to quantify limonene in human fat biopsy samples using GCMS for quantitation. Dr. Miller began her R25 training in March 2011 and selected Sherry Chow, PhD (medicine), as her primary mentor. Patricia Thompson, PhD, and Peter Lance, MD also serve on her mentoring team. Dr. Miller’s R25 research project is to determine the feasibility of utilizing metabolomic profiling of plasma to noninvasively assess the metabolic effect of limonene, a putative cancer chemopreventive and to help elucidate its mechanisms of action. Through the R25 program, Dr. Miller was able to travel to London for two months training in metabolomics from the group at Imperial College, London and she has a continued collaboration with Drs. Elizabeth Want and Hector Keun.
Joshua Williams, PhD. Dr. Williams completed his doctoral studies in February 2010 at the University of Arizona, where he studied Drug Development and Design. His dissertation work focused on folate metabolism in human skin and therapeutic implications for the treatment and prevention of disease. Dr. Williams initially received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with honors from the University of Arizona. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, he worked in industry as a formulation engineer for ImaRx, Inc., where he developed and tested novel formulations of cancer therapeutics, and as a Coordinator of Analytical Services for Niadyne, Inc., where he designed, conducted and analyzed in vivo experiments on the absorption and metabolism of micronutrients in murine and human skin. Dr. Williams then sought to further a career in academic research, which led to his postdoctoral research under Marek Romanowski, PhD (Engineering), in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona. This research focuses on demonstrating a folate-specific mechanism to target human ovarian carcinoma cells to facilitate intracellular molecular manipulation via spectrally-controlled content release from plasmon resonant nanostructures. Following the completion of his postdoctoral research with Dr. Romanowski, Dr. Williams will begin his R25 training in July 2011. He has selected Georg Wondrak, PhD (pharmacology and toxicology), and Steven Stratton, PhD (Medicine), to serve as his primary mentors. Dr. Williams’ R25 research will examine whether UV induced reactive carbonyl species in skin may be therapeutically targeted for effective chemoprevention of NMSC.
Jennifer Stern, PhD. Dr. Stern completed her doctoral degree in Nutritional Biology at the University of California, Davis where she studied the energetic impact of aging and calorie restriction in a mouse model. Utilizing indirect respiration calorimetry, her research focused on understanding the regulation of energy expenditure, substrate utilization, and food intake in the context of aging, obesity, and gene expression. Dr. Stern earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and her Masters of Science in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University. She initially became interested in the link between nutrition and age-related disease while serving as a hospice counselor in Phoenix after completing her undergraduate degree. This experience has directed her research focus to understand the energetic mechanisms involved in the development and progression of age-related pathophysiologies, particularly obesity and cancer. While it has been demonstrated that obesity is linked to cancer risk through mechanisms involving the inflammatory and hormonal milieu of the obese state, short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with weight gain and resultant obesity, which has been demonstrated to lead to poor prognosis in cancer patients. As an R25 fellow, Dr. Stern’s research aims to identify and elucidate mechanisms by which sleep habits may mediate cancer progression associated with the metabolic dysregulation caused by obesity. Dr. Stern has selected Dr. Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD (Professor, Departments of Health Promotion Sciences and Nutrition) as her primary mentor. Dr. Randall Friese, M.D. (Professor, Department of Surgery), an expert in sleep deprivation research, also serves on her mentoring team.
Tomas Nuño, PhD. Dr. Nuño completed his PhD in Epidemiology in August 2011 at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH). His dissertation research explored breast and cervical cancer screening among rural-dwelling Hispanic and American Indian women in Arizona. A key part of his research was the evaluation of a community-based, randomized controlled trial that assessed a promotora-administered intervention to promote breast and cervical cancer screening in a rural community along the U.S.-Mexico border. Dr. Nuño initially received a Bachelor of Science degree in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis before going on to compete a Master of Arts degree in Economics at the University of Arizona. While earning his doctorate, Dr. Nuño taught CPH 376: Introduction to Health Sciences Science Statistics from 2008 through 2011 for the MEZCOPH. Upon completion of his doctorate, Dr. Nuño was selected for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Arizona Area Health Education Center-funded Clinical Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Research (COCER) Academic Fellowship Program. The goal of the fellowship program was to provide training in clinical outcomes and comparative effectiveness research, with a specific focus on primary care for rural and underserved patients, families, and communities in Arizona and its interface with specialty and tertiary care. Dr. Nuño has been awarded a three-year National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) grant to be conducted as part of the R25T Cancer Prevention and Control Fellowship Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. This research will study clinical (screening/diagnosis/treatment), economic, and humanistic cancer outcomes and assess disparities among underserved populations, including racial/ethnic and rural populations. Dr. Nuño will use the findings from this study to quantify disparities in cancer outcomes. In addition, this study will provide preliminary data to assess strategies that can then be tested in clinical or community settings and hopefully help reduce the burden of cancer among underserved populations. Dr. Nuño has selected Dr. Ivo Abraham (outcomes and effectiveness research) and Dr. Francisco Garcia (cancer disparities) as his primary mentors. Dr. Grant Skrepnek (health economics and national expenditure database research) and Dr. David S. Alberts (cancer prevention and control) also serve as mentors for Dr. Nuño.