I began my journey into cancer research by training under world-class physicians and scientists such as Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, Ralph Hruban, MD, and Scott Kern, MD. I have always been inspired by these highly accomplished individuals and motivated by the intellectual challenges that research into pancreatic cancer offers.

During the past few years, through my work with Charles J. Yeo, MD, the Samuel D. Gross Professor and Chair of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, I have learned firsthand about the countless lives and families tragically touched by this aggressive form of cancer. The combination of attempting to outsmart pancreatic cancer cells and helping some of the amazing people who face this horrific illness has become the focus of my life and career.

Recently, I learned that I will receive one of the prestigious Career Development Awards from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network this year. I strongly believe this award is, and will always be, a landmark moment and a milestone in my career. It has come at an extremely pivotal time for me.

First, this award helps to validate my institutional department’s investment in my efforts. Second, as I attempt to investigate unchartered territories in pancreatic cancer research, this award encourages my investigative path by providing crucial resources to perform next-phase experiments, which hopefully one day will translate into clinical benefit. Finally, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has always been an organization that I admired from afar. The organization generates hope and enthusiasm for countless patients, families, clinicians and researchers touched by this disease.

It is with honor and profound respect to those who work for and contribute to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that I will accept this award. Further, it is my humble desire and hope that each dollar spent on my research will move us closer to conquering this leading cancer killer.

Click here to learn about other recipients of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network research grants.