About the Cancer Biology Program

The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Biology Training Program (CBTP) offers mentored research training opportunities in the GW Cancer Center. The CBTP is designed to equip the next generation of cancer biologists and clinician scientists with the knowledge, analytical tools, and critical thinking skills to integrate multiple fields of biology in pursuit of cancer research discoveries.

Research strengths include Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, Cancer Signaling and Genomics, and Cancer Epigenetics and Technology. It reflects many strengths also found in the Cancer Biology PhD program.

Each CBTP trainee will have a balance of three elements: Mentored research project directed by a faculty research preceptor and an advisory committee of experienced faculty; an individualized cancer biology curriculum including an exposure to health disparities in cancer; and career and professional development, including experience in grant writing and presentations.

The CBTP offers support to individuals working with these trainers:

Diagram displaying faculty collaboration across different areas of expertise

Program Leadership

Norman Lee, PhD Norman Lee, PhD, a professor of pharmacology/physiology, co-leads the T-32 Cancer Biology Training Program at the GW Cancer Center. Dr. Lee also serves as the director of the Cancer Biology PhD Program, a member of the Katzen Cancer Research Center Board of Directors, and editor of Scientific Reports.

View Dr. Lee's Faculty Profile

Edward Seto, PhD Edward Seto, PhD, associate center director for basic sciences at the GW Cancer Center, King Fahd professor of cancer biology, and professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at SMHS, co-leads the T-32 Cancer Biology Training Program at the GW Cancer Center.

View Dr. Seto's Faculty Profile

Program Application

Applications will be solicited in the spring for summer appointment (see flyer). Applications will be submitted via REDCap and should include:

  1. Specific Aims (1 page)
  2. Statement of Research (developed in collaboration with the primary mentor) (2 pages)
  3. Applicant Career Goals and Research Training Plan (1 page)
  4. NIH Biosketch (max 5 pages)
  5. Unofficial Transcript
  6. Recommendation from proposed T32 research mentor
  7. Two letters of reference (not including proposed T32 research mentor)

Trainees must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident by date of award
  • Predoctoral trainees must be graduate student with a focus on cancer research
  • Postdoctoral trainees must have an advanced degree completed by start date (PhD, MD, or equivalent)
  • Commitment to a research career in cancer biology

Please direct information requests and all application materials to cancerbiology@gwu.edu, or call (202) 994-3492.

Trainees from 2021-2022

Postdoc Appointees

Paula Cooper, PhD Paula Cooper, PhD
Mentor: Brett Shook, PhD
Research Interests: Paula Cooper is a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Brett Shook's lab at George Washington University. Her work there focuses on the impact of adipocyte lipolysis on G Protein-Coupled Receptor 84 (GPR84) signaling and how this pathway can modulate inflammation in the skin. Her PhD studies at Purdue University focused on the impacts of inflammation on adult prostate stem cells. Ultimately, her goal is to study epithelial, immune, and stromal cell interactions to identify molecular targets to prevent the onset and progression of hyperplastic disease.
Background: BS San Diego State University, PhD Purdue University
Email
Kenji Ishida, PhD Kenji Ishida, PhD
Mentor: Michael Hsieh, PhD
Research Interests: Mechanisms of parasite-host interactions. transcriptional profile of mouse model for urogenital schisosomiasis infection, bioinformatics analysis related to RNA seq transcriptional profiles.
Background: BS Case Western Reserve University, PhD Case Western Reserve University
Email
Michael Smith, PhD Michael Smith, PhD
Mentor: Norman H. Lee, PhD
Research Interests: Role of the circulatory microenvironment in African American prostate cancer. My research focuses on the reciprocal signaling between platelets and prostate cancer, and the consequences of this signaling in the progression of prostate cancer in the African American population.
Background: PhD Howard University
Email

Graduate Student Appointees

Nicole Bonan Nicole Bonan
Mentor: Rohan Fernandes, PhD
Research Interests: Methods to increase immune cell killing of tumor cells, with a mesothelioma model system.
Background: BS American University, MS American University
Email
Jenna Clements Jenna Clements
Mentor: Edward Seto, PhD
Research Interests: I am a PhD student in Dr. Edward Seto's lab at George Washington University. My work is centered on histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins in cancers. HDACs are most commonly known for their function of modifying chromatin to regulate gene transcription, but other, non-canonical HDAC functions have implications in gene expression and disease. With this in mind, I am particularly focused on HDAC11's de-fatty acylase activity and HDAC11's influence on RNA splicing in cancers. Prior to beginning my studies at GWU, I received my Bachelors in Science in Biology from Lindenwood University and completed research as a research assistant at Washington University in St. Louis.
Background: BS Lindenwood University
Email

Trainees from 2020-2021

Postdoc Appointees

James McDonald, PhD James McDonald, PhD
Mentor: Katherine Chiappinelli, PhD
Research Interests: How epigenetic therapies activate the immune system to improve outcomes for cancer immunotherapy treatments, novel tools to study the effects of targeted DNA methylation changes at tumor suppressor gene promoters, targets of epigenetic therapies in ovarian cancer.
Background: BS Seattle Pacific University, PhD Washington University in St. Louis
Email
Michael Smith, PhD Michael Smith, PhD
Mentor: Paul Brindley, PhD
Research Interests: Transition from parasite-oriented research to cancer, helminth-induced cardinogenesis, mechanisms of host immune responses to address cancer, health disparities in D.C.
Background: PhD Howard University
Email
Kenji Ishida, PhD Kenji Ishida, PhD
Mentor: Michael Hsieh, PhD
Research Interests: Mechanisms of parasite-host interactions. transcriptional profile of mouse model for urogenital schisosomiasis infection, bioinformatics analysis related to RNA seq transcriptional profiles.
Background: BS Case Western Reserve University, PhD Case Western Reserve University
Email

Graduate Student Appointee

Nicole Bonan Nicole Bonan
Mentor: Rohan Fernandes, PhD
Research Interests: Methods to increase immune cell killing of tumor cells, with a mesothelioma model system.
Background: BS American University, MS American University
Email