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Johns Hopkins cancer researcher Ashani Weeraratna appointed to National Cancer Advisory Board by President Biden

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Newswise – Johns Hopkins scientist Ashani Weeraratna, PhD, a leading cancer researcher specializing in melanoma and the effects of aging on cancer, has been appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as a member of the National Advisory Board on cancer. The White House announced the appointment on September 15.

The National Cancer Advisory Board advises and assists the director of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health on the activities of the national cancer control program. People are selected from key representatives of health and science, as well as leaders in public policy, law, health policy, economics, management and the environment. Among its activities, the National Cancer Advisory Board reviews grant applications for research, training, health care information, and programs for cancer patients and their families.

Weeraratna is the EV McCollum Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Co-Head of the Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She joined Johns Hopkins Faculty in 2019.

Cancer remains a major cause of death worldwide despite advances in prevention, early detection and treatment. Weeraratna’s research focuses on the effects of the tumor microenvironment (the normal cells and structures surrounding a tumor) on metastasis and resistance to treatment. She is one of the first researchers to study how the aging microenvironment influences metastasis and therapeutic resistance in melanoma. His studies encompass the biophysical changes that affect the ability of tumor and immune cells to migrate through tissues. His research has revealed age-related differences in responses to both targeted therapy and immunotherapy, findings that may one day inform clinical practice.

In addition to her research, Weeraratna has worked on public health campaigns for skin safety and is a strong advocate for scientific diversity.

“I am honored and touched to be named to the National Cancer Advisory Board,” says Weeraratna. “As a young girl in Lesotho, Southern Africa, many years ago, I couldn’t imagine having such an opportunity. I am grateful to those who mentored me, the students I sponsor now, and all of the people living with cancer. I am very happy to work with my colleagues on the National Cancer Advisory Board as we support the mission of the National Cancer Institute. ”

“We applaud President Biden’s decision to appoint Ashani Weeraratna to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board,” said Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “Ashi is a valued and influential leader within our School of Public Health who will bring a deep commitment to vital research on melanoma and the role aging plays in cancer to help inform and guide national control programs. against cancer at the National Cancer Institute. ”

Weeraratna received her undergraduate degree in biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and her doctorate in molecular and cellular oncology from the Department of Pharmacology at George Washington University Medical Center. From 1998 to 2000, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins before joining the National Human Genome Research Institute as a scientist. In 2003, she moved to the National Institute of Aging, where she launched her own research program. In 2011, she joined the Wistar Institute, where she continued her research before joining Johns Hopkins in 2019. She is the author of the book to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Is cancer inevitable?

Johns Hopkins cancer expert Nilo Azad, MD, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has also been appointed by President Biden to serve as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board .

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