The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) named chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Sara Pedron Haba a 2021 AACR NextGen Star and a 2022 Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research, an award that recognizes scientists who are engaged in meritorious basic, clinical, or translational cancer research. Pedron Haba is a research professor of biomedical and translational sciences at Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

The NextGen Stars program provides an opportunity to increase the visibility of early-career scientists at the AACR Annual Meeting and supports the professional development and advancement of those selected as AACR NextGen Stars. At the virtual 2021 AACR Annual Meeting, Pedron Haba presented “Bioengineered tissue mimetic hydrogels to study brain tumor biology and screen therapeutics.”

The Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research program provides funds for the participation of full-time minority faculty members and faculty members of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) to attend the 2022 AACR Annual Meeting, which was held April 8-13, 2022, in New Orleans. Pedron Haba presented a talk entitled, “Tumor-driven extracellular matrix remodeling influences therapeutic response.

“Brain tumors develop in a complex and nearly inaccessible environment, which fosters their growth and invasion, and protects them from current therapies,” said Pedron Haba in the abstract. “I aim to create artificial platforms that study tumor development and therapeutic approaches, with the ultimate goal of applying this knowledge to the clinic and implementing targeted therapies that alter critical tumor-microenvironment interactions to improve patients’ prognoses.”

This faculty scholar program is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, which works to increase the number of underrepresented minorities participating as competitive NCI/NIH-funded cancer researchers.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article by Claire Benjamin can be found on the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering website.


August 1, 2022