African Ancestry in Biological Determinants of Risk & Survival in Breast Cancer (3.10.21)

breast cancer ribbon
Melissa B. Davis, PhD
Melissa B. Davis, PhD

Melissa B. Davis, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery and scientific director of the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes at Weil Cornell Medicine, will speak on the "Role of African Ancestry in Biological Determinants of Risk and Survival in Breast Cancer" on March 10, 2021, at 12 p.m.

Davis received her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Georgia. Following this, she completed postdoctoral fellowships in Functional Genomics and Systems Biology in the Department of Human Genetics at Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, where she also trained at the U-Chicago Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities. This final stop in her training is where she began work in her current research interest:  To identify biological mechanisms of racial disparities in cancer risk and clinical outcomes of cancer diagnoses.

The Davis Lab has produced findings that have established that unique genetic signatures in both breast and prostate tumors of African and African American patients are enriched for mechanisms that correlate with aggressive tumor progression, which generate novel opportunities for precision medicine applications in minority populations.

Her current work builds upon findings in her breast cancer research, where she has identified that and African-Ancestry allele, and the recently discovered tumor expression of a gene named DARC (ACKR1) is linked to the tumor-specific immune/inflammatory response. Emerging findings of this project indicate that unique immune response in tumors of African Americans may be linked to worse clinical outcomes, yet hold the potential for novel targeted therapies.

Davis' talk is presented by the DCI Cancer Disparities SPORE Program and DCI’s "BASIC Engage: Engaging Community Partners and Basic Scientists in Collaborative Research."

Davis' talk is part of the "2021 Cancer Disparities Lecture Series," which also includes talks on April 21 and May 4.

Email Trena Martelon to register