The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is pleased to announce that two postdoctoral scientists, one from Kenya and one from Brazil, have been awarded IARC Postdoctoral Fellowships.
Thanks to financial support from Children with Cancer UK, Dr Grace Akinyi Odongo and Dr Natália Spitz Toledo Dias have recently joined IARC, in the Epigenomics and Mechanisms (EGM) Branch.
Dr Akinyi Odongo will assess exposure to mycotoxins as a contributing factor to Burkitt lymphoma in children in Africa. The results of this study will form the basis for future epidemiological studies to assess whether exposure to aflatoxins and other mycotoxins can increase the risk of endemic Burkitt lymphoma, as has already been shown for hepatocellular carcinoma.
Dr Spitz Toledo Dias will identify epigenetic biomarkers of early-life factors in association with risk of childhood cancer. She will investigate whether exposures during fetal life could cause epigenetic changes (heritable changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations to the DNA sequence) that may be associated with risk of childhood cancer, thus providing an evidence base for cancer prevention.
The training of early-career scientists plays an important role in strengthening the capacity of countries in the fight against cancer. Financial support from donors such as Children with Cancer UK is vital to increase the number of postdoctoral scientists who can benefit from the IARC Fellowship Programme, and ultimately to boost the impact on research capacity in countries worldwide.