Advances in Cancer Research, Health Disparities Highlighted at Campus Symposium

Photo of Biological Sciences Majors Ashley Macias, a senior and Khadoza Nilma, a Sophomore.

With the goal of bringing together the many talents and passions or researchers and academics in the cancer research field, SUNY Old Westbury held its second Cancer Symposium last month. Students from the pre-med, Biological Sciences, Public Health majors and more had the opportunity to hear and learn about cutting-edge research from leading institutions including Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Yale University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Hosted by Old Westbury’s Institute of Cancer Education and Research (ICaRE), the symposium focused not only on research, but health disparities in the field. Dr. Sarah Smith of the Public Health Department presented her work on health disparities through the lens of cervical cancer.

Keynote speaker Dr. Nyasha Chambwe, an assistant professor in the Institute for Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, shared her research that focuses on identifying the genetic and molecular features of cancers that differ across racial and ethnic groups, and the extent to which these differences reveal or explain race and ethnicity-based cancer health disparities.

Photo of ICaRE Director Dr, Manya Mascareno, ICaRE keynote speaker Dr. Nyasha Chambwe, and Dr, Maria Zulema Cabail
(From Left to Right) ICaRE Director Dr, Manya Mascareno, ICaRE keynote speaker Dr. Nyasha Chambwe, and Dr, Maria Zulema Cabail from the Biological Sciences department.

Of cancer cohort studies and clinical trials, Dr. Chambwe shared that “it doesn’t make sense that the people we are studying are not the people who are getting sick. We want to improve representation of different minority groups in cancer studies, improve ancestry estimation approaches and ways to integrate modeling of both genetic and social determinants of health.”

More than 80 registrants participated in the symposium, which concluded with a poster presentation and career expo for Old Westbury students. ICaRE provides undergraduate students with cutting-edge research training opportunities and encourages their pursuit of graduate studies and careers in science and medicine. This event was co-sponsored the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and the Biological Sciences Department.

Banner Image Caption: Biological Science Majors Ashley Macias and Khadoza Nilma with their poster presentation at the 2nd ICaRE Symposium.

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