10 MSI Faculty Kicking Breast Cancer’s Butt through Research – With Guest Writer Shawna Patterson

Although October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to keep the conversation going in November and beyond since it is a salient topic among communities of color. For Black and Latina women, being diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly the most aggressive subtype (Triple-Negative Breast Cancer), has greater implications than any other ethnic group. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights faculty at Minority Serving Institutions who are conducting research in efforts to address this lethal disease.

1. Ibrahim O. Farah, Jackson State University (HBCU)


A professor in Biology at Jackson State University, Ibrahim is broadly interested in exploring cancer biology in addition to understanding the mechanisms involved in the development of diabesity and cancer phenotypes. Dr. Farah also seeks to understand the implementation of natural/endogenous biotherapeutics as it relates to cancer treatment. He has authored several publications regarding cancer, but has also received accolades for his work on breast cancer. His publications include “D-Glucose-Induced Cytotoxic, Genotoxic, and Apoptotic Effects on Human Breast Adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) Cells” and “Association of pesticide exposure and risk of breast cancer mortality in Mississippi.”

2. Chowdhury Faiz Hossain, East-West University (AANAPISI)


Dr. Chowdhury Faiz Hossain is a professor in the Department of Pharmacy. Hossain has published several articles on biological processes but his publication, “Mitochondrial DNA mutations–candidate biomarkers for breast cancer diagnosis,” has received much acclaim.

3. Digna S. Forbes, Meharry Medical College (HBCU)

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Dr. Forbes is an associate professor and the Associate Dean for Medical Education in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology in the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. A trained pathologist, Digna Forbes is primarily interested in examining molecular biology of premalignant and malignant breast disease among African American women.

4. Ali B. Ishaque, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (HBCU)

UMES- Natural Sciences

Ishaque, an associate professor of Environmental Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, has been awarded over $300,000 in grants from the National Cancer Institute. He was also recognized for his cancer research, evidenced through an award he received from the University of Maryland Partnership in Cancer Research and Outreach. One of his more recent abstracts, “Genotoxic effect of individual and mixture of atrazine, arsenic, cadmium and nitrate, at maximum contaminant level on breast cell lines,” discussed the reactions between compounds and breast cancer cells.

5. Stan Ivey, Delaware State University (HBCU)


Dr. Ivey, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, actively receives grants to conduct cancer research. Funding sources include the Cancer Federation, the Department of the ARMY, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Much of his work centers on the exploration of ovarian cancer, however, Stan Ivey has also conducted research that examines the metastases in breast cancer cells.

6. Yasmine M. Kanaan, Howard University (HBCU)

Kanaan, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at Howard University, focuses on breast cancer research and anticancer drug discovery. Dr. Kanaan is well-published. Many of her pieces, including, “Cytotoxic effects of a novel dicloronaphthoquinone analogue on human breast cancer cell lines,” “Inherited BRCA2 mutations in African Americans with breast and/or ovarian cancer: a study of familial and early onset cases,” and “Estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor-negative breast cancers of young African-American women have a higher frequency of methylation of multiple genes than those of Caucasian women” have received attention in the field. 

7. Dana Marshall, Meharry Medical College (HBCU)


Dr. Marshall is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. She has completed extensive research on breast cancer, specifically as it relates to underrepresented populations. Her publications include, “Analysis of preliminary questionnaire from the Breast Cancer in African Women Study,” “Structural mass spectrometry of tissue extracts to distinguish cancerous and non-cancerous breast disease,” and “Challenges unique to the design of a comprehensive questionnaire assessing breast cancer risk factors among women in sub-Saharan Africa.”

8. Michelle M. Martínez-Montemayor, Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine (HSI)


Dr. Martínez-Montemayor is an associate professor of Biochemistry at the Universidad Central del Caribe. She is interested in studying breast cancer invasion, metastasis, and cancer cell survival. She has conducted several tests, including “Whole mushroom Reishi extract reduces inflammatory breast cancer progression via E-cadherin inhibition” and “Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) inhibits cancer cell growth and expression of key molecules in inflammatory breast cancer.”

9. Checo Rorie, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (HBCU)


Rorie is a rising scholar in the area of triple negative breast cancer research. He is currently an assistant professor of genetics in the Department of Biology at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Recently, Dr. Rorie examined differential expression among microRNA within triple negative breast cancer and healthy breast cells. Additionally, he published, “Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Lines with TP53 Mutations are Able to Undergo Cell Death” and “Cancer Associated MicroRNAs are Differentially Expressed in Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Normal Breast Cells.”

10. Maureen Sanderson, Meharry Medical College


Sanderson is a full professor at Meharry Medical College, where she specializes in cancer research. She has an expansive publication repertoire. Recently, Dr. Sanderson published scholarship centering on the relationship between vitamin consumption and reductions in mammographic breast density among premenopausal women. In addition to this work, Sanderson conducted the following studies: “Urinary isoflavone concentrations and breast cancer among Mexican-American women,” “Factors influencing breast cancer screening in low-income African Americans in Tennessee,” and “Associations of hormone-related factors with breast cancer risk according to hormone receptor status among white and African American women.”

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