Three CUNY SPH students awarded CEESP fellowships

February 26, 2019 | Fellowship, Press Releases & Announcements, SPH Accolades

Zoe Heisler (left), Lora Kasselman (top), and Karina Castillo

CEESP Fellows Zoe Heisler (left), Lora Kasselman (top), and Karina Castillo

Three CUNY SPH students in the MPH program are recipients of the CUNY School of Medicine Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Populations (CEESP) fellowships for 2019. CEESP is a research training program funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to develop the careers of public health students in the field of cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention and control. The CEESP Program provides funding to students to conduct mentored cancer research in global and U.S. minority settings.

Zoe Heisler, who is concentrating on Healthcare Policy and Management, will analyze a breast cancer screening program recently instituted in Tanzania, where mortality for breast cancer is over 50 percent and an 82 percent increase is expected by 2030. Heisler will be gathering data on the treatment for patients referred by the screening program to determine whether savings in treatment for these patients will outweigh the cost of the program itself. If the screening program is shown to be cost efficient it could encourage the expansion of the screening program to other geographic areas.

Lora Kasselman, a student in the Biostatistics track, is currently working as a researcher at NYU Winthrop Hospital. Kasselman will explore the associations between diet and obesity, the gut microbiome, and colorectal cancer (CRC). She will extract microbial signatures from microbiome studies of diet and obesity and analyze them for overlap with recent meta-analysis results of the CRC-associated microbiome. Kasselman hopes the study will provide novel insights into the roles of lifestyle in CRC risk, and potentially improve efforts at CRC prevention.

Karina Castillo is a student of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences program. She will be working on identifying the chemical content of electronic cigarette vapors with emphasis on the carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene and benzene. The study is part of ongoing research collaboration with Professor Ilias Kavouras and faculty at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Congratulations to our CEESP fellows!