In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, Dr. Darryl Martin’s motivation for pursuing a career in cancer research:
What brought you to work in cancer research?
My first introduction to cancer research was in high school during a MedQuest program held by Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. This program is designed to introduce students to health sciences and careers in the medical field. When I was in college, I worked part-time as a medical assistant at the Dr. Charles A. Janeway Child Health Center (named for Yale University graduate Dr. Janeway) in Newfoundland. This job required me to visit the pediatric cancer ward regularly. During those visits, I was inspired to do more to help the families I met who were struggling with a difficult cancer diagnosis. A few years later, I had the opportunity to enter graduate school in Drs. Robert Gendron and Hélène Paradis of Memorial University study childhood cancer. My training focused on growth and differentiation markers for early cancer detection. I found it rewarding that my research could impact my community and was drawn to scientific discoveries and urgency of cancer research.
Why is diversity important to the workforce and the work you do?
Diversity is important to my laboratory because it provides new ideas and insights that partly stem from unique life experiences. These ideas stimulate creative discussions, leading to innovative perspectives to dissect complex, multi-layered scientific problems. We all benefit from diversity by learning from backgrounds and points of view that are not like our own. Diversity should be important to everyone.
What do you think the future holds for cancer research?
The future of cancer research is promising. New discoveries are constantly being made to improve cancer detection, patient stratification (personalized medicine) and therapeutic discoveries. Our translational cancer research group is excited to push the boundaries of cancer research by using innovative approaches to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools, as well as preclinical mouse models to address cancer progression with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcome and quality. of life.
What message do you have for your colleagues in cancer research?
As an individual, it is very difficult to be an expert in every aspect of cancer research. Good collaborations are important! It takes a diverse, knowledgeable and persistent team to advance cancer research. Also, take the time to train the next generation of scientists, as they can build on what you’ve started.
Each individual in the oncology workforce has a unique and compelling story about why they work in cancer research. The National Cancer Institute invites you to share your story about what drives you to work in cancer research and has developed the hashtags #This is why and #NothingWillStopUs. Let’s inspire the next generation of diverse talent to join us in the fight against cancer as we know it!
Submitted by Eliza Folsom on August 30, 2021