Name: Hawasatu (or Hawa) DUmbuya


CURE Year:

2011 - 2013

Education and Degree(s):

B.S. Pharmacology & Toxicology MCPHS University (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences)

Describe your current position:

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology program at Brown University. Under the guidance of Dr. Elena Oancea, my research focuses on the regulation of melanin synthesis in human epidermal melanocytes, and on characterizing ultraviolet light phototransduction in human skin. Basically, I study how sun exposure causes one’s skin to tan.

CURE mentor(s):

Dr. Bakhos Tannous

Dr. Christian Badr

What was your CURE research question?:

Through the CURE program, I joined Dr. Bakhos Tannous’ lab, which focuses on developing novel imaging and therapeutic strategies for glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and malignant form of adult brain tumors, by high throughput screening. As part of this team, I worked on testing two candidate molecules that we identified as potential anti-cancer compounds in vitro and in vivo. 

Memorable CURE Experience:

I have many memorable CURE experiences from joining a laboratory, learning basic science research skills, obtaining my first piece of data, to writing a research abstract for the first time. But my most memorable CURE experience was giving my very first research oral and poster presentations in front of the entire CURE program and to my family. 

How did CURE help you get to where you are today?:

My experience in the CURE program was eye-opening and life-changing. I joined Dr. Bakhos Tannous’ laboratory, at Massachusetts General Hospital, where I learned the very basics of cancer biology research. In addition, I attended scientific and professional development seminars, and learned how to critically read scientific papers. For the end of my internship, I prepared an abstract and final presentation, which helped develop my writing and presentation skills. I thoroughly enjoyed my CURE experience, which inspired me to continue to work in the same laboratory during the academic year, and to ultimately pursue a PhD in biomedical sciences. If it was not for my CURE experience, I would have never had the opportunity to learned and done research and have considered graduate school.

Favorite place to eat in the Longwood Medical Area when you were a CURE student:


What is your current five year plan?:

My current five-year plan is to earn my doctoral degree, do a postdoctoral fellowship in a biotechnology/pharmaceutical, and obtain a scientific-related career that I love.

If I weren’t a (current position), I’d be:

I would be working in the science community engagement and/or communication fields.