Other Cancer-Focused Trainee Teams

The TICaRT concept of team-based cancer research is largely modeled on the highly-successful Clinical and Translational Science Institute TL1 Predoctoral Training Program, led by Dr. Wayne McCormack. Examples of cancer-focused TL1 teams, as well as a Ph.D. student–postdoctoral fellow team focused on cancer research, are described briefly below.

I had the opportunity to work with an engineering team and learn how mechanical engineers contribute to translational science. Through our project specifically, I learned about obtaining patents and understanding how, when and in what direction you push projects forward for translational science.

– Henrietta Fasanya, M.D., Ph.D. student

Current Teams

Team Project: Integrating Molecular Biological and Epidemiological Approaches in Assessing Differences in Treatment and Survival of Advanced-Stage Laryngeal Cancer by Race


Chayil Lattimore, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Kristianna Fredenburg, M.D., Ph.D.

Caretia Washington

Caretia Washington, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., MSc

Team Project: Combinatorial Utility of Novel Immunotherapeutic and Nanoparticle Imaging Platforms in Pre-clinical Brain Cancer Models

John (Jack) Figg, M.D.-Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Catherine Flores, Ph.D.

Matthew Frain, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Frank Bova, Ph.D.

Past Teams


Team Project: Integrating Mathematical and Biological Models to Target Myeloid-Derived Immune Cells in GBM

Gregory Takacs, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D., Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Dissertation Project: Investigating Mechanisms of Monocytic-MDSC Immune Suppression in Glioblastoma

Hannah Anderson, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Libin Rong, Ph.D., Mathematics
Dissertation Project: Mathematical Model of Glioblastoma-Immune Dynamics: Applications to Immunotherapy


Team Project: Tailored Web-based Intervention to Increase Florida Smokers’ Enrollment in a Research Registry

Rachel Damiani, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Janice Krieger, Ph.D., Advertising
Dissertation Project: Exploring the Perceived Communication Challenges and Strategies of Scientists when Interacting with Nonexperts


Nioud Gebru, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Robert Leeman, Ph.D., Health Education & Behavior
Dissertation Project: A Behavioral Economic Examination of Sexual Behaviors in the Era of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: An Explanatory Sequential Mixed-Methods Examination


Team Project: Detection of Metastases in Osteosarcoma Patients Using Microfluidic Devices


Henrietta Fasanya, M.D., Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Dietmar Siemann, PhD, Radiation Oncology
Dissertation Project: The Role of Cathepsin Inhibition in Osteosarcoma Metastasis

Pablo Dopico, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Z. Hugh Fan, Ph.D., Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Dissertation Project:  Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Microfluidics and the Analysis of Tumor DNA during Cancer Therapy


Team Project: Cancer Cell to Dendritic Cell Conversion


Matthew Sebastian, M.D., Ph.D. Student
Mentor: David Tran, M.D., Ph.D., Neurosurgery
Dissertation Project: Pglyrp3, a Novel Critical Regulator of Breast Cancer Development and Metastasis


Sarah (Tori) Ellison, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Thomas E. Angelini, Ph.D., Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Dissertation Project: Pglyrp3, a Novel Critical Regulator of Breast Cancer Development and Metastasis

Team Project: A Novel Tumor Microenvironment Model that Combines Bioprinting and Tissue Culture to Investigate Cancer Cell and Microvascular Interactions


Samantha Dykes, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate
Mentor: Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., Radiation Oncology
Research Project: Role of cathepsin L in the macrophage-mediated metastatic phenotype of triple-negative breast cancer


Ariana Suarez-Martinez, Ph.D. Student
Mentor: Walter L. Murfee, PhD, Biomedical Engineering
Dissertation Project: Development of an Ex Vivo Mouse Tissue Culture Model for Investigating Cell Dynamics during Microvascular Remodeling

UF Health Cancer Center Predoctoral Awardees:

  • Gregory Takacs: 2022 Predoctoral Awardee
  • Henrietta Fasanya: 2018 Predoctoral Awardee

Alumni Outcomes

tRAINEE fACulty mentor Degree(s)/Training Publications Current Position
Samantha Dykes, Ph.D. Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D. Postdoc 2019 5 Senior scientist, GenCure
Henrietta Maku (Fasanya), M.D., Ph.D. Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D. Ph.D. 2020 6 Pathology resident, Houston Methodist Hospital
Matthew Sebastian, M.D., Ph.D. David Tran, M.D., Ph.D. Ph.D. 2020 4 Internal medicine resident, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ariana Suarez-Martinez, Ph.D. Walter L. Murfee, Ph.D. Ph.D. 2020 7 Associate Medical Director, BluPrint Oncology, Jacksonville, FL
Pablo Dopico, Ph.D. Z. Hugh Fan, Ph.D. Ph.D. 2021 4 Process testing scientist, Resilience
Rachel Damiani, Ph.D. Janice Krieger, Ph.D. Ph.D. 2021 5 Science writer, Hillsborough, NC

Team Publications

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