Howell-UCSD 2016 Scholar and her interest in preventing breast cancer

Howell-UCSD 2016 Scholar and her interest in preventing breast cancer

Tiffany Lee received one of three scholarships awarded by the Mirandon Foundation for Hope, indicating an interest in cancer, especially of the breast. Tiffany Lee’s project title is “Dissecting the Molecular Basis of Breast Cancer Metastasis Dormancy.” Since most cancer-related deaths are due to metastasis–when, after primary tumor removal, disseminated tumor cells enter a dormant state and then reactivate cell proliferation to form metastatic outgrowth.  Dr. Jing Yang’s laboratory has established a breast cancer metastatic dormancy mouse model to monitor the disseminated tumor cells and characterize dormant tumor cells at distant organs.  Tiffany’s project aims to perform histological and molecular characterization of this novel tumor dormancy mouse model.

In her personal statement, Tiffany describes this particular story of her childhood, told by her mother, which defines her today.  “When I came home, I found her chewing on a whole apple with her six or seven teeth!  Imagine that, the apple was nearly as big as her face!”  Her mom repeats this story all of the time; many have heard this same story many times. This mental image of a determined toddler biting off more than she could chew has defined Tiffany’s current self.  She always ends up wanting more and asking the question–so what? To answer those questions, Tiffany joined the Yang Lab at Moores Cancer Center, UCSD, hoping to “find the apple of (her) childhood.”  She has, over time, learned how to take small bites and digest information leading to discovery.

In her letter recommending Tiffany, her mentor, Jing Yang, Ph.D., writes that her proposed research will succeed and make important inroads into the molecular basis of breast tumor metastasis dormancy.  She continues that one of her most impressive characteristics is her “diligent attitude towards her work and her passion to contribute to society.” She is confident that Tiffany’s research project will contribute significantly to the improvement of women’s health.

Tiffany plans to enter the BS/MS program at UCSD.  She notes that the Howell Scholarship will enable her to conduct her own long-term research over the span of graduate school.

Congratulations Tiffany!  We wish you all the success!

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community.

To learn more about the Foundation, visit


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