Written by Amani Nilar
17 Sep, 2021 | 10:01 am
(News 1st): Johns Hopkins scientist of Sri Lankan origin, Ashani Weeraratna, PhD, a leading cancer researcher who specializes in melanoma and the effects of aging on cancer, has been appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board of the U.S.
The National Cancer Advisory Board advises and assists the director of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health on the activities of the national cancer program. Individuals are selected from among leading representatives in health and science, along with leaders in public policy, law, health policy, economics, management, and the environment.
Weeraratna, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, currently serves as the co-leader of the Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and a professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Lesotho in Africa, Dr. Weeraratna first came to the United States in 1988 to study biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Oncology at the Department of Pharmacology of George Washington University Medical Center.
Weeraratna has also undertaken a global analysis of how the aged microenvironment promotes metastasis, using a unique resource of normal skin fibroblasts from healthy donors of differing ages, proteomics analysis, and animal models, and the clinical implications of these data may also result in a change in clinical practice, as they are finding age-related differences in responses to both targeted and immunotherapy.
She is President of the Society for Melanoma Research, and a fierce champion of and a mentor for junior faculty, people of color and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
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