Assistant Professor Carla Finkielstein has been presented with a Minority Scholar Award in Cancer Research. The award, given by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), is intended to enhance the education and training of minority researchers and increase the recognition of minorities involved in cancer research.

Finkielstein, who is a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College Science, was one of 25 researchers across the country to be recognized. The award is sponsored by a grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.

“In just her first four years as an assistant professor, Carla’s research has gained significant national recognition, her teaching has reached the highest level of quality and impact in our department, her enthusiasm and dedication in mentoring have attracted dozens of the university’s best students to her lab, and she has emerged as a strong national voice in bringing science to the public,” said Robert Jones, professor and department chair of biological sciences. “Carla’s successes in all these endeavors stem from her high energy and dedication and her deep concern for people who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses.”

Finkielstein’s research focuses on how changes in circadian rhythms may contribute to the development of breast cancer in women. Her research is also supported by a $1.1 million Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). These awards are made to outstanding young faculty members who present career development plans that effectively integrate research and education with an emphasis on combining the excitement of research with inspired teaching. The CAREER program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards for outstanding faculty early in their professions.

In addition, Finkielstein’s work in cellular processes that affect tumors has received private funding from the Susan G. Komen and Avon Foundations. She also serves on the board of directors for the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation (VBCF).

A key component of her research program is the recruitment and training of high school students and college undergraduates through research internships, which provide one-on-one, hands-on laboratory experiences for students.

The mission of the AACR is to prevent and cure cancer. It is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research.

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