Gayathri Devi

Bedside to Bench to Curbside: Addressing Breast Cancer Health Disparities

Gayathri Devi

Duke University, Durham



Aula Taronja (Edifici Jardí)



I will present –
1. aspects of cancer health disparities related to aggressive and rare breast tumors.
2. how programmed cell death signaling modulates the tumor immune microenvironment during cellular stress, which can lead to disparities in clinical outcomes.
3. how we are bridging the clinical and translational research with patient/public facing community engaged research

Hosted by Sonia Pernas Simon – Breast Cancer group


My research focus is on programmed cell death signaling and cellular stress in the cancer continuum, which includes discovery science, translational, clinical research and understanding how stress factors in the macroenvironment influence disparities in clinical outcomes. I have received continuous federal funding over 20 years. I received postdoctoral training in both academic research (Oregon Health and Sciences University) and in the biotechnology sector (AVI BioPharma in Genomics based Therapeutics). Faculty at Duke (since 2006), my laboratory has made significant contributions to 1) define crosstalk mechanisms between cell death and growth factor receptor pathways, 2) develop multi-scale models to study cancer progression and for drug discovery, 3) elucidate cell death mechanisms in tumor cell immune response, and 4) exploit the cell death pathway in other non-cancer paradigms, in particular organ transplantation, where there is a need to inhibit excess cell death and enhance cell longevity. I am experienced at development of complex research programs across multiple institutions and served in leadership roles within organizations that address equity, diversity, inclusion including Program Director of the Duke Inflammatory Breast Cancer Consortium at Duke Cancer Institute, that I co-founded in 2015, co-lead of the Advanced and IBC Research program in Surgery with funded projects with the International Inflammatory Breast Cancer Consortium Investigators. These efforts over the past decade have led to the founding of a dedicated IBC-specific clinic at Duke Cancer Institute and biobanking in collaboration with National and International investigators, and projects focusing in population health and community engaged research. I was awarded the 2021 Duke School of Medicine Research mentoring Award for early career training in basic and translational research. As the Inaugural Director of the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office, I was involved in assessing needs of Duke and NCCU, a historically black public university; developing strategies to align institutional capabilities for bidirectional collaborations. This included expanding infrastructure to support underrepresented minority researchers, fostering inter-professional learning, and engaging with the diverse community stakeholders. Currently, I serve as a mentor in the Duke Advanced Practice Providers Leadership Institute (APPLI) for healthcare workforce development and as Chair of the mentoring Committee in Women in Endocrinology (WE) Organization within Endocrine Society.

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