The overall objective of Florida A&M University Center of Excellence for Cancer Research Training and Community (CRTCS) Service is to support the University and the College research infrastructure; capacity building for innovative basic biomedical and behavioral research; and to provide faculty and graduate students support for improving minority health and health disparities in cancer research.
Increasing Minorities in Cancer Research
The objective of the research core at FAMU is to increase the number of minorities conducting cancer research by providing an environment and resources to researchers at all levels. The ultimate goal is to enhance the competitiveness of the faculty in securing NIH funding (R21, R01) and to increase their publication record by publishing in high impact journals. Three research projects covering areas of lung and breast cancer by established investigators will be pursued to build this environment;
- Targeted Nanocarrier Combination Based Therapy for Lung Cancer;
- Hypoxia and anaerobic metabolism regulation of cancer cell survival: a novel target for anticancer therapeutics; and
- Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of DIM-like Analogues as Anti-Cancer Agents apart from these projects the specific aims are to:
- enhance targeted approaches in lung and breast cancer therapy through research collaboration activities;
- strengthen innovative targeted approach research capability to compete for mainstream funding from the federal government;
- augment the grant obtaining capability of minority investigators by organizing for them grant writing workshops; and
- provide existing equipment resources in cancer research to the faculty.
It is expected by having such a multidisciplinary approach and focusing on cancer research to address minority health and health disparities, the center will provide needed mentoring to junior faculty. The expected outcome is an increased level of cancer research knowledge and a significant increase in the number of minority scientists trained in the area of cancer research to address minority health and health disparities. It is our major goal that FAMU center will serve as a focal point for discovery, development and delivery of novel concepts in cancer prevention and treatment.
|TIFFANY W. ARDLEY, Ph.D.
Dr. Tiffany Ardley is an Assistant Professor of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She obtained her B.S. degree in Biology (1993), M.S. (1998) and in 2003 she became the first African American and first female to earn the Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Florida A&M University. Dr. Ardley’s research interest is in the area of Medicinal Chemistry. More specifically her research focuses on the design and development of agents for the treatment of cancer and uterine fibroids. She has 17 publications and 37 abstracts for research presented at national and international meetings. Current honors and awards include: Florida A&M University Teacher of the Year (2013), American Association for Cancer Research Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award (2012) and the RCMI Translational Research Network Collaborative Enhancement Award for her collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso.
|Dr. DEANNA M. BURNEY, PSYCHOLOGIST
Dr. DeAnna M. Burney is an Associate Professor in the discipline of Psychology. She received her graduate level training from major universities including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Florida. Many years of service has been rendered in Florida’s public schools as a Psychologist, where she provided psychological assessments, interventions, and counseling to students experiencing academic, behavior, and mental health difficulties. Dr. Burney has been instrumental in consulting with parents and community agencies to respond to crises and potential threats that have occurred within schools and communities. She is an experienced crisis counselor and has assisted in resolving many mental health cases involving bomb threats, race riots, vehicular accidents, and potential suicides. Her research interests and study are varied and includes research in the areas of anger and violence among children and adolescents, biofeedback and anger reduction, the study of preparedness, evacuation and reunification during natural and created disasters and post-traumatic effects including post-traumatic stress disorder precipitated by poverty among natural disaster victims. More recently, Dr. Burney has embarked in research concerning Childhood Obesity and the development of Breast Cancer due to lifestyle health and psychological factors. She has authored a psychological and physical health program entitled Healthy Minds and Healthy Life Breast Cancer Prevention Program (HMHL-BCPP). HMHL-BCPP is designed to educate and train women with significant histories of breast to reduce risky lifestyle behaviors through positive techniques such as diet, exercise, and stress management. In addition, Dr. Burney has authored a breast cancer assessment tool entitles “ Psycho-biological Health Impact Questionnaire “ which is designed to assist researchers and practitioners in identifying genetic and biological markers that could identify a woman’s increased risk of breast cancer due to risky lifestyle behaviors and high levels of stress. She is a co-investigator in the Center of Excellence for Cancer Research at Florida A&M University. Within the Center, she assist with the Community Engagement/Outreach Core (CEOC), which was developed, to enhance, and strengthen partnerships through CBPR with the Gadsden and Leon County African American communities to create a sustainable research and outreach environment for eliminating breast cancer disparities. Her current research is significant and embraces scientific research methods that are multidisciplinary in impacting human life functioning and wellbeing.
|JOHN COOPERWOOD, PhD
Dr. John Cooperwood is involved in the design, synthesis and evaluation of compounds targeting triple negative breast cancer. He has been involved in drug discovery for over ten years. His research work has lead to two patents (US 7,687,486 and WO 2012142029 A2) in the area of breast cancer. He uses the latest molecular modeling tools to design compounds that are then synthesized using parallel synthesis. He has found several compounds that have been found to show activity against both estrogen receptor positive and negative breast cancer cells. These are believed to exhibit inhibitory effect upon the PI3/Akt pathway. Dr. Flores-Rozas a molecular biologist and an important collaborator on Dr. Cooperwood’s team will be involved in the screening of lead compounds to determine how PI3/Akt inhibition occurs. The ultimate goal of this drug discovery project is to find a drug that targets triple negative breast cancer.
|Dr. HERNAN FLORES-ROZAS
Hernan Flores-Rozas is an Assistant Professor of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS). Dr. Flores-Rozas received his Ph. D. from Cornell University Medical College, where he carried out his research work with Dr. Jerard Hurwitz, at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, investigating the mechanism of DNA replication. He then joined Dr. Richard Kolodner’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute-Harvard Medical School and then at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research-UCSD, where he was funded by an exclusive fellowship from the Jane-Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research to study the role of DNA repair in the prevention of hereditary colon cancer. He moved to the Medical College of Georgia to start his independent research as an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics during which time he was a Distinguished Cancer Scholar of the Georgia Cancer Coalition. During this period his laboratory was supported by extramural funds from different agencies, including the National Institute of Health. His current research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that allow cancer cells to survive chemotherapy, particularly the type that involve drugs that damage DNA. He has been involved in the field of DNA replication and repair for over 20 years and has contributed with seminal studies that have been published in top journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Nature Genetics. He has been invited to present his work at numerous international and national meetings and has served in grant review panels as well as a reviewer for several scientific journals.
|Dr. RENEE REAMS
Dr. Reams is a member of the NCI- supported CapTC prostate cancer consortia and play an active role in co-organizing The Biennial Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities conference, an biannual, international conference organized to address the global public health problem of prostate cancer among black men. Proceedings of the 1st bienniel science of global prostate cancer disparities in black men ( Odedina, Shavers and Pressey, Infect Agent Cancer 2011 Sep 23; 6 Suppl 2:11+ can be found http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194178/ Prostate Cancer is still a major public health problem, both nationally and globally;. Nationally, it is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men. Clinical evidence shows that less than 10% of cases are diagnosed before metastases is recognized. Hence there is an need for better biomarkers that clearly distinguish indolent from lethal prostate cancers. Dr. Reams has determined that the ABC gene family is important in prostate cancer and may be useful as a prognostice indicator of aggressive prostate cancer. This finding may help in closing the prostate cancer disparity for black me within and outside of the US; since it is commonly known that black men have a 1. 6 increased incidence and are 2.5 times more likely to die of prostate cancer than their caucasian counterparts.