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Elizabeth TitaSPIRE Fellow, Public Health
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The pursuit of knowledge has always been important to me. As a child growing up in rural North Carolina, I was described as inquisitive, independent, and hardworking. Attending Bennett College in Greensboro North Carolina and obtaining a B.S. in Biology was one of the pivotal points in my life. In addition to contributing to my development as a person, the faculty supported and encouraged me to pursue my interest in research and higher education. After completing a research internship at Howard University my senior year in college, I knew I wanted to obtain a Ph.D. in Pharmacology.
As a graduate student at Howard University, I worked under the guidance of the late Dr. Donnell Bowen. Dr. Bowen, who transitioned a few months following my defense, taught me the importance of quality research. He often shared his philosophies about life and professional development. He would say, Like water, seek your own level or it is the squeaky wheel that will get the oil, etc. My dissertation studies investigated the effect of sequence of administration of cell cycle specific agents on cytotoxicity, when utilized in combination chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer cells.
While conducting research I aspire to mentor and teach students. Conducting meaningful research and finding answers to really tough scientific questions quickly looses its value unless this knowledge, along with the methods to obtain such, can be transferred to the next generation. I want to become those who inspired me and more. I want to push myself and my future students to the limits and beyond, and enjoy the journey. The SPIRE program presents a rare opportunity for me to continue to engage in cancer research while simultaneously developing my skills as an educator. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. James A. Swenberg. My research involves the optimization and development of sensitive assays for the detection of DNA adducts, followed by dose response comparisons for adducts and mutations at low exposures, so that the scientific basis of risk assessment can be more adequately established.
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