MEET THE TEAM
The Faces of Our Organization
BlackinCancer has developed so quickly in the last few months. We’re extremely proud of each and every member of the organising committee, not only for their scientific contributions to cancer research but also their ability to contribute their own unique experience and skills to our success. Find out more about some of our and co-founders and board of directors below.
DR HENRY HENDERSON III
Dr. Henry J. Henderson is a cancer biologist and health-promotion advocate. He earned his PhD in Integrative Biosciences from Tuskegee University and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the division of Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His research focuses on understanding non-small cell lung cancer and improving therapeutic strategies with a particular focus on mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to agents used in clinical practice. As a dedicated champion of diversity in cancer research, he is additionally involved in strengthening scientific/medical literacy and increasing cancer awareness within the African-American community.
Sigourney is a second year graduate student at the University of Cambridge. She earned her Bachelors in Human Physiology from the University of Leeds and then went on to work for both Pfizer and AstraZeneca in Neuroscience and Oncology respectively. She is currently pursuing her PhD, with her research centring on developing novel models and therapeutics for paediatric brain tumours, more specifically supratentorial ependymoma. Outside of her research, Sigourney is passionate about scientific outreach and encouraging the next generation of Black students into STEM subjects.
Board of Directors
DR. KORIE GRAYSON
Director of Finance
Dr. Korie Grayson is a biomedical engineer and a diversity advocate in STEM. She is a proud alumna of the HBCU Norfolk State University, where she earned her BS in Chemistry (2012). Korie obtained her MS (2017) and PhD (2020) in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University where she defended her thesis, “Cellular Delivery of TRAIL to Treat Metastatic-Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer”, during the COVID-19 pandemic under Dr. Michael R. King. Currently, Korie is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso in Chemical Engineering. Her research focuses on the evaluation of novel nano- and microparticles for therapy in neutrophilic, acute inflammatory disease and cancer.
DR. JULIA MORRIS
Director of Mentorship and Outreach
Dr. Julia Morris is a molecular biologist, mentor and communicator of science. She is proud of her Jamaican heritage and is passionate about sharing science with people of all ages. She obtained her undergraduate degree in ‘Cellular and Molecular Medicine with Study in Industry’ from the University of Bristol. She subsequently pursued her graduate studies at the University of Sheffield and was awarded her PhD in ‘Molecular Biology and Biotechnology’ in 2020. She is currently a Bioscientist in the Drug Discovery Unit, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
DR. TANIMOLA MARTINS
Co-Director of Cancer Awareness
Tanimola is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Health Research, University of Exeter Medical School. He has a background in Medical Rehabilitation and Public Health. His research aims to identify and quantify sociodemographic inequalities in cancer, Presently, Tanimola is working in collaboration with researchers from University College London and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to investigate ethnic differences in diagnosis and outcomes of common cancers.
Director of Mentorship and Outreach
Rhea Harewood is a cancer epidemiologist and a third year PhD candidate at Imperial College London. Her research focuses on the identification of clinical and behavioural risk factors for proximal colon cancer. Rhea has an MSc from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where she subsequently worked as a Research Fellow researching drivers of inequality in cancer survival. She has also worked in cancer surveillance in her home country of Barbados and holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of the West Indies. Rhea is heavily involved in postgraduate teaching and mentorship. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a mentor with the Amos Bursary, which works with British young men of African and Caribbean descent.
MAMADOU A. BAH
Director Mentorship and Outreach
Mamadou Bah is a rising second year PhD student at Weill Cornell. He received a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from New Jersey City University. During his undergraduate years he was involved in many research opportunities from plant genetics to drug screening targets for cancer that fostered his passion for research. His time at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia solidified his focus on the field of immunology and how that understanding can be applied towards cancer therapeutics. Currently, he is on his last laboratory rotation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute and looking forward to getting his graduate dissertation underway. Outside of research, Mamadou is passionate about mentoring and giving back to the community through volunteering and activism work. He enjoys mentoring and talking to high school and undergraduate students as he seeks to increase diversity in the biomedical research field.
RALPH WHITE III
Co-Director of Cancer Awareness
Ralph White III is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He received his B.S in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry from Furman University, where he studied the thermodynamics of the inhibition of High Mobility Group A proteins bound to AT rich DNA by Netropsin. Currently, his research is focused on evaluating the synergy of combination therapy involving select kinase inhibitors and the standard of care for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. In addition to his research, Ralph is involved in STEM outreach within the Twin Cities community, engaging all with his love of science.
Director of Sponsorships
Chris Bourne is a 4th year PhD Candidate at Weill Cornell/Sloan-Kettering Institute. He received a BA in Biology and Spanish Literature from Swarthmore College. For his graduate work he studies cancer immunotherapy, aiming to use T cells to deliver drugs to tumors, and uncover novel immunotherapuetic targets. He is passionate about diversity in biomedical research and helps run programs and committees to improve recruitment, retention, and promotion of underrepresented students.
Associate Director of Sponsorships
Elshaddai White, a native of Franklin, Louisiana, is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University in 2012 and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Jacksonville State University in 2014. His research focuses on adaptive stress mechanisms within the tumor microenvironment, explicitly investigating how serum deprivation primes tumor cells to adapt and survive hostile environments in prostate cancer. His long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator and continue research in cancer biology and, later, train and develop future minority cancer scientists while putting forth his best efforts to eradicate this disease.
DR. RUAN COX
Co-Director of Partnerships
Dr. Ruan Cox, Jr is an immunologist and an advocate for the promotion of partnerships between biotech and industry. He earned his PhD in Molecular Medicine and Immunology from the University of South Florida College of Medicine where his research focused on supercharging immune function through the timely administration of resolution factors. Since leaving the bench he has dedicated his career to the effective development of strategic partnerships for acceleration of translational and clinical R&D efforts. He spent 5 years at the renowned Moffitt Cancer Center generating over $100 million in funding towards cancer research partnerships and now leads these efforts at the University of South Florida Technology Transfer Division as the Assistant Director of Business Development and Partnerships.
DR. KILAN BISHOP
Co-Director of Partnerships
Dr. Kilan C. Ashad-Bishop is a California-born biomedical scientist & change agent based in Miami, FL. She currently serves as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the University of Miami School of Education & Human Development and the Director of College Access for Breakthrough Miami. Kilan is an HBCU Grad (Morgan State University) & holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Director of Operations
Kaela Makins is a Senior at Hamilton College as a Miami Posse scholar, working toward earning her B.A. in Biology. She has dabbled in a few different research projects ranging from cancer research to microbiology, but finds that her strongest interest lies in genetic research, specifically with a focus in cancer and health disparities. Her thesis research focuses on studying the effects of lead toxicity on reproduction, behavior, and neurogenesis, as well as its impact on generational inheritance. Kaela is passionate about seeing inclusive STEM environments for Black and Brown students in the spaces that she involves herself in (and beyond). Kaela is the Head Co-Chair and Co-Founder of ROOTS, a Hamilton College organization focused on uplifting and supporting students of color interested in STEM focused concentrations and careers.
Director of Communications
Originally from the diamond nation of Botswana, Tumie is currently a PhD student at the Leicester Cancer Research Centre. She holds a Medical Genetics BSc from the University of Leicester and her research focusses on establishing novel diagnostic and prognostic RNA markers from exosomes in breast cancer. Aside from her research, she is passionate about outreach and cancer awareness within the black community.
Briana White is a native of South Florida with Jamaican heritage. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations with an outside concentration in Health Communications and Digital Design at the University of Florida. Briana has worked with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and ThinkPink Breast Cancer Foundation. Briana is currently a Media Relations Associate at Fractl a Digital Marketing/PR Agency.