Blog 3: Translational and International Cancer Science!

Over the past few months, I have felt grateful to have solidified academic research partnerships between the United States and Ireland in the oncology space. Every day, I am reminded of why I do the work that I do by the rush of discovery and drive to make cancer care and innovation better. I have felt more inspired here than ever.

This week, had an amazing experience presenting my recent work on “Spatial Immunophenotyping in Patient Biospecimen and Intravital Optical Imaging in a Novel Murine Model Identifies Macrophage Infiltration in Tumor Emboli of Inflammatory Breast Cancer” at the EACR-AACR-IACR Basic and Translational Research Conference in Dublin, Ireland! It was a privilege to connect with international faculty, researchers, and students.

This conference was also an excellent opportunity to celebrate Rare Disease Day and I am always inspired by patients and advocates in the U.S., Ireland, and internationally who are integral members of our research efforts. My team based in the U.S. is now creating a new partnership (and research grant) with an amazing researcher based in UCD, Dr. Arman Rahman, focusing on elevating patients’ voices in cancer care internationally.

During the conference, I attended a talk organized by Dr. Rahman, where he invited representatives from the Irish-Bangladeshi community to speak about involving ethnic minority cancer patients in mainstream cancer patient advocacy groups. A lot of my previous work has focused on elevating the voices of underrepresented and disenfranchised patients in cancer care in the U.S. Although the U.S. and Ireland are on opposite sides of the Atlantic – we are really not so different when it comes to recognize voices that the medical system often ignores. We are now going to expand a population health survey-based research project I started at Duke, and administer it in Dublin to understand the needs, perceptions, and barriers to cancer care among ethnic minorities. At a time when Dublin and Ireland as a whole is becoming increasingly diverse – I can’t wait to see how this work expands and the potential science/medical policy recommendations it can make. It is the responsibility of medicine and medical research to make sure no voice gets silenced or left behind – internationally.

A snapshot of my immuno-oncology research that was presented at the conference.
Starting my research on the complement system and immune interactions in esophageal cancer at Trinity College Dublin (I love the TCD embroidered lab coat).

On a personal note, I continue to enjoy exploring Dublin and finding new favorite cafes and bookstores (some of my happy spots are shown below). Every Saturday, I spend the morning browsing Books Upstairs, a bookstore close to Trinity that has a fantastic second-hand book selection. I’ve been collecting used cookbooks and pick one up for €5 every weekend. By the end of my Mitchell year, I will have quite the collection and many new recipes to remind me of my time here.

Lastly, I have enjoyed my visitors over to Ireland! My partner Ben is in his last semester of law school and comes over to visit on his weeks off. In a way, he feels like he is getting a Mitchell experience too, and loves the country.

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