Group 4D: Detection/Diagnosis; Predictive Biomarkers



Thursday, Dec 15
10:00 am – 11:30 am Eastern Time (US/New York)



Poster #P5-06-01

A multi-center clinical study to harvest and characterize circulating tumor cells from patients with metastatic breast cancer using the Parsortix® PC1 System in support of FDA clearance

Poster #P2-03-25:

Pilot study to evaluate circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to PET/CT imaging using 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and 18F-Fluoroestradiol (FES) PET/CT imaging as biomarkers in patients with metastatic breast cancer

Mentor: Sarah Wald

In March 2019, Sarah was 39 years old, a recently tenured professor at the University of Oregon, and training for her first century (100 mile) bicycle ride when she noticed a small lump in her breast. After a whirlwind of appointments and mishaps, Sarah was diagnosed with ER+/PR+/HER2- de novo metastatic breast cancer.

With a background in environmental organizing, Sarah knew advocacy and organizing would be central to her diagnosis response. Sarah is an alumna of Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Young Advocate Program, a Metavivor volunteer (Oregon’s State Captain for the Stage IV Stampede), and a GRASP mentor. Shortly after diagnosis, Sarah was selected for a First Descents trip where she spent a week white water kayaking with others diagnosed with cancer under 40. This trip inspires her devotion to #OutLivingIt through hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and kayaking whenever she gets the chance.

Sarah continues to work full time as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and English at the University of Oregon. In 2022, Sarah’s beloved stepdaughter turned 18 and graduated high school, milestones Sarah wasn’t sure she’d be alive to celebrate.

Twitter: @SarahDWald

Scientist: Aileen Fernandez, Ph.D.

Aileen Fernandez’s postdoctoral research is in translational oncology and focuses on identifying and developing biomarkers to better identify which patients with cancer will respond to targeted therapies, improving patient care. Aileen completed her PhD in the Tumor Biology training program at Georgetown University (GU) in 2019. While there, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Rebecca B. Riggins and focused on triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive breast cancer subtype that disproportionally affects African-American women and lacks targeted therapies. While at GU, Aileen co-founded the Women in Science and Education (WISE) group with her colleagues, serving as the group’s strategist, secretary, and diversity liaison.

Aileen is passionate about leveling accessibility in science and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also strongly believes in improving science communication to better disseminate information from the scientists’ bench to society.

Twitter: @AileenIlianaPhD