Nicole Halmai is featured in AACR May Newsletter

May is National Cancer Research Month

Nicole Halmai is the recipient of the 2023 AACR-Bristol Meyers Squibb Cancer Disparities Research Fellowship.


Gastric cancer (GC) is a significant cause of cancer incidence and mortality disparities among Hispanic/Latinos (HLs). HLs are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with and die from GC compared with non-Latino whites and are also more often diagnosed at earlier ages but at later stages of disease, for which survival rates are significantly worse. Despite this high burden of disease, relatively little data exists characterizing the molecular etiology of GC among HLs. This research will leverage existing genomic and epigenomic sequencing data from HLs with GC generated in a large multi-center NCI-funded study (U54 CA233306) to identify driver somatic epigenetic changes and genetic ancestry-associated germline risk loci that contribute to GC development, therapeutic response, and ultimately, health disparities among HLs in the US.


Dr. Halmai received her doctorate from the University of California (UC) Davis in 2019 in molecular, cellular and integrative physiology where she developed a novel genome editing platform for the functional modeling of cancer risk-associated variants. As a graduate student, Dr. Halmai was both an NIH-Initiative for Maximizing Student Development and NIH-Molecular and Cellular Biology T32 training fellow. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Genome Center. Her research is focused on the development of pre-clinical cancer models and (epi)genomic data from racial/ethnic minority populations to advance cancer health equity for these communities.

Acknowledgement of Support

“I am exceedingly grateful to the AACR and Bristol-Myers Squibb for providing this opportunity. Being a Cancer Disparities Research Fellow will provide me with the support to advance my career in the field of cancer health disparities and, most importantly, give back to our communities of color through my research.”

2023 AACR-Bristol Meyers Squibb Fellowship Grantee