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2022 NIH Distinguished Scholars

Mustapha Abubakar, M.D., Ph.D.

Mustapha Abubakar, M.D., Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (NCI DCEG)

Dr. Mustapha Abubakar was born in Zaria and raised in Abuja, Nigeria. He obtained his medical degree from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria, did a pathology residency at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Nigeria, and obtained an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the Imperial College London and a Ph.D. in molecular epidemiology, with concentration in computational pathology and epidemiology, from the University of London’s Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital. He joined NCI DCEG as a postdoctoral fellow and was subsequently promoted to a research fellow. He is currently a Stadtman tenure-track investigator in the Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch (ITEB), DCEG. In ITEB, his integrative research program in patho-epidemiology is focused on advancing scientific understanding into the role of tissue ecosystem disruption in the etiology, natural history, and biological behavior of cancer, with the ultimate goal of using this knowledge to inform cancer prevention, control, and treatment. His work is particularly focused on cancer sites with known precursor states, that can be detected through population-based screening programs, such as breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.

Stanley Adoro, Ph.D.

Stanley Adoro, Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research (NCI CCR)

Dr. Stanley Adoro was born and grew up in Nigeria. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania as the first graduate of the NIH-UPenn Partnership Program. Following postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and the Weill Cornell Medical College, he was an Assistant Professor at the Case Western University School of Medicine before joining NCI CCR as a Stadtman tenure-track investigator. Dr. Adoro is an immunologist with a long-standing interest in understanding the process of blood cell development. Research in his laboratory specifically seeks to understand how the multi-layered machinery that sense and maintain cellular proteome homeostasis (“proteostasis”) controls hematopoietic cell development and function. These studies are revealing that dysfunction of key proteostasis regulators in hematopoietic stem cells and mature blood cells not only impair their integrity but also contribute to the emergence of diseases including blood cancers, chronic infection, and organismal growth defects.

Angela Ballesteros, Ph.D.

Angela Ballesteros, Ph.D.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Dr. Angela Ballesteros is a first-generation college student who moved to the United States after obtaining her Ph.D. in Structural Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain, her home country. She joined the NIDCD as a Robert Whenthold Postdoctoral Fellow to study the molecular biology of proteins essential for hearing. She later moved to the NINDS and focused on identifying the mechanoelectrical transduction (MET) channel that allows us to perceive sound and balance. As a Stadtman tenure-track investigator and Chief of the Sensory Physiology and Biophysics section at the NIDCD, Dr. Ballesteros will continue to study the relationship between the MET channel complex and sensory inner ear hair cell physiology. Her lab's broad goal is to decipher the fundamental relationships between the MET apparatus and sensory hair cell homeostasis that underlie sensory hair cell death and survival to prevent hearing loss and balance disorders.

Rouf Banday, Ph.D.

Rouf Banday, Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research (NCI CCR)

Dr. Rouf Banday was born and raised in Kashmir, India. He received his bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Kashmir before earning his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University. Dr. Banday pursued postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Connecticut and the NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. He studied cancer-associated genetic loci and mutational processes and, more recently, the role of innate immunity in COVID-19. Currently, he is a Stadtman Investigator in NCI CCR’s Genitourinary Malignancies Branch, where he leads the Functional and Translational Genomics Section. His research focuses on understanding the genomic alterations that govern the development of bladder cancer and confer resistance to therapies.

Christopher Bartley, M.D., Ph.D.

Christopher Bartley, M.D., Ph.D.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dr. Christopher Bartley was raised in Brighton, Colorado. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in neurobiology from Yale University, and his M.D. from the Yale School of Medicine. He is Board Certified in Psychiatry, having completed Adult Psychiatry residency training at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He continued at UCSF as a research fellow in behavioral immunology, with support of a Hanna H. Gray Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship. He continued at UCSF as an instructor, where he oversaw a consultation clinic for individuals with comorbid autoimmune and psychiatric disorders. He recently joined NIMH as a tenure-track clinical investigator and will serve as Chief of the Translational Immunopsychiatry Unit. His lab focuses on how neural circuit-specific autoimmune B and T cell responses contribute to behavioral pathology.

Nathan Basisty, Ph.D.

Nathan Basisty, Ph.D.

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Dr. Nathan Basisty (He/Him) was born in Lviv, Ukraine and raised in Seattle, WA. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Washington. During his postdoctoral studies at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, he received a K99 Pathway to Independence Award to target and quantify the accumulation of senescent cells during human aging and age-related diseases. In 2022, he joined the NIA as a tenure-track investigator and chief of the Translational Geroproteomics Unit, where his lab now develops and applies advanced and large-scale mass spectrometry-based proteomic approaches to discover and treat the underlying biology of aging and age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. His lab primarily focuses on two hallmarks of aging/disease - cellular senescence and alterations in protein homeostasis.

Desmond Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

Desmond Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Dr. Desmond Brown was born and grew up in St. Ann, Jamaica until immigrating to the United States for college. He earned B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Temple University and an M.S. in Biochemistry with a concentration in Membrane Biophysics at Temple University School of Medicine. In the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson/Princeton University MD/PhD program, he earned a PhD in Molecular Biology and Neuroscience from Princeton and his MD from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed a Neurological Surgery residency, a T32 post-doctoral fellowship, and an enfolded Neurosurgical Oncology clinical fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Brown is now an Assistant Clinical Investigator in the Surgical Neurology Branch at NINDS and Head of the Neurosurgical Oncology Unit where he provides neurosurgical care to patients with CNS neoplasms. His laboratory focuses on the primary cilium as a site of integration of key signaling pathways important in development and disease. He hopes that elucidation of fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie ciliary regulation in glioblastomas will inform interventional clinical trial design and, ultimately, paradigm shifting therapeutics for this uniformly fatal disease.

Dondrae Coble, D.V.M.

Dondrae Coble, D.V.M.

National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research (NCI CCR)

Dr. Dondrae Coble was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. He received a B.S. in Laboratory Animal Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, before obtaining a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed residency training at Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and is recognized as a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. He previously held a faculty position at The Ohio State University and was the Director and Attending Veterinarian at The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the Comparative Medicine Branch of NIEHS as a Senior Scientist and animal program director in 2021. Refining and developing animal models to study climate change and health disparities are research areas of interest. As a laboratory animal medicine veterinarian, he is interested in utilizing animals in the most responsible and appropriate manner while identifying opportunities for technique refinement.

Jonine Figueroa., Ph.D.

Jonine Figueroa., Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (NCI DCEG)

Dr. Jonine Figueroa grew up in the melting pot of New York City. She obtained a B.S. in Genetics from the Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Stony Brook University. As an NCI Cancer Prevention Postdoctoral Fellow, she received an MPH from Columbia University and conducted cancer molecular epidemiology studies. She was a tenure-track investigator in NCI DCEG until moving to the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, to lead integrative molecular epidemiologic research focused on global health and e-Health records. As a tenured Professor and Chair of Molecular Epidemiology and Global Cancer Prevention her research focuses on integrating e-health records, molecular and environmental risk factor data with markers in normal and tumor tissues to provide new insights into the etiology of different subtypes of cancer. Her research emphasizes studies in diverse populations, including the US, UK, and Africa, with disparate healthcare systems, with particular emphasis on breast cancer. Upon returning to NCI DCEG as a Senior Investigator, she will focus on disentangling the independent and synergistic effects of risk factors associated with inequities in cancer incidence and mortality by tumor subtypes.

Amy Janes, Ph.D.

Amy Janes, Ph.D.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Dr. Amy Janes grew up in New Jersey and she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University. She then went on to obtain her Ph.D. in the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition division of Psychology at Boston University studying the molecular mechanisms of substance use disorders in preclinical models. During her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital, she began using clinical neuroimaging methods to study substance use. She remained at Harvard and McLean for over 14 years and was most recently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry. In October of 2021, Dr. Janes joined NIDA where she directs the Cognitive and Pharmacological Neuroimaging unit, which has the long-term objective of using neuroscience to guide the development of more personalized treatments for substance use disorders. This aim is supported by several shorter-term goals that include: 1) identifying neurobiological vulnerabilities for developing and maintaining substance use disorders; 2) determining how psychiatric disorders contribute to substance misuse; 3) determining the neurobiological impact of existing and developing treatments.

Jinani Jayasekera Devadoss, Ph.D.

Jinani Jayasekera Devadoss, Ph.D.

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Dr. Jinani Jayasekera was born and raised in Sri Lanka. She received her bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and a master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. In 2015-16, she earned an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She completed her postdoctoral training in Cancer Prevention and Control at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and eventually became a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University. Dr. Jayasekera joined NIMHD as a Stadtman tenure-track investigator in 2022, where her research focuses on novel applications of cancer health services research and simulation modeling to support individual- and policy-level cancer prevention, screening, and treatment decisions in diverse populations. Her research includes the development and validation of simulation model-based clinical decision tools to support personalized cancer care; and evaluation of public health policies and health interventions to reduce social inequalities in cancer care.

Urbain Weyemi, Ph.D.

Urbain Weyemi, Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research (NCI CCR)

Dr. Weyemi was born and raised in Benin, West Africa. He subsequently moved to Paris, France for graduate studies, receiving his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in molecular biology from Paris-Sud University. His thesis research focused on the nexus of oncogenic activation, redox homeostasis, and DNA damage responses in cancer. He conducted postdoctoral research, first at NCI, focusing on redox homeostasis and genomic instability in cancer, and then at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where his work unveiled a novel role for the DNA repair histone H2AX in neuronal health and mitochondrial homeostasis. Dr. Weyemi joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 as an assistant professor and a CPRIT scholar in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, where he established an independent research group. He was selected as one of the 16 American Sloan Research Fellows in Neuroscience in 2021 for his research on the role of genomic instability and mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration. Dr. Weyemi joined the Developmental Therapeutics Branch in 2022 as a Stadtman Investigator.

 

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