Cancer Prevention and Control Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Are you in search of a fellowship in cancer research?

For more than 45 years, the University of Arizona Cancer Center has had an invaluable training grant through the National Cancer Institute known as the T32. 

Yeo and Carvajal on bench

This year, the Cancer Center has two T32 openings for postdoctoral fellows with doctoral degrees relevant to cancer prevention and control (CPC) science who are interested in advancing their research program to address cancer prevention and control and cancer related health disparities. 

“The T32 provides fellows with critical protected time to establish a focused research idea and related programming,” said Cancer Center member Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RDN, T32 corresponding principal investigator. “It provides them with specific training opportunities to hone their skills and knowledge. It is also a critical time for developing professional relationships and collaborations to carry their research agenda forward in a meaningful way.”  

Continue reading feature article on this fellowship here.

The T32 offers career-making mentorship and transformational training 

This NCI-funded T32 Cancer Prevention and Control Health Disparities Training Program offers a multi-disciplinary mentored environment to increase our understanding of cancer prevention and increasing quality of life for survivors. The program includes an important focus on cancer health disparities in underserved populations and in increasing the numbers of scientists from under-represented backgrounds.

Train to Become an Independent Investigator

This Cancer Prevention and Control Postdoctoral Fellowship Program provides preparation for an individual who wishes to pursue the route to becoming an independent scientist.

The training program includes development of clear scientific and academic goals, constructive scientific guidance from top-level mentors, and support for presentation and publication of results. Each fellow will have a mentoring team and mentoring plan in place to ensure future success in academic research. The trainee will work with established investigators and is expected to engage in a research project; develop research proposals; produce two to three publications per year; and work with a multidisciplinary team.

Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis. 

Please see Eligibility and Application information below.

Individuals with a doctoral degree in public health, medicine, epidemiology, basic science, community psychology, sociology, or related health science degrees are encouraged to apply. Underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. This fellowship is restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Required application materials include:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal statement and research concept (2 page max)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Three references (names and contact information)

To apply and for more information, please contact us here.

The University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Health Disparities Training Program offers a multi-disciplinary mentored environment. Potential mentors and mentoring committee members for T32 CPC fellows are listed below.  Please note that primary mentors are not required to be on these lists, but at least one of the mentors listed below should be included in a fellow's mentoring committee.  

Mentors and their areas of research are:

Allen, Alicia M., PhD Family and Community Medicine

Area of Research: Women/maternal health and smoking cessation

Altbach, Maria I., PhD Medical Imaging 

Area of Research: Imaging techniques for cancer diagnosis

Badger, Terry A., PhD Nursing

Area of Research: Quality of life for cancer survivors and caregivers in Latina populations

Barton, Jennifer K., PhD Biomedical Engineering

Area of Research: Endoscopic techniques for early cancer detection

Bea, Jennifer W., PhD Public Health

Area of Research: Body composition and cancer disparities among women

Burgess, Jefferey L., MD Public Health

Area of Research: Environmental-related exposures and cancer disparities in Native Americans, firefighters, and miners. 

Carvajal, Scott C., PhD Public Health

Area of Research: Health behavior theory, social ecological models within minority populations, Latino/cultural behavioral science and health promotion science

Caulin, Carlos, PhD Otolaryngology 

Area of Research: Molecular mechanisms that promote head and neck cancer development

Chow, Hsiao-Hui (Sherry), PhD Medicine

Area of Research: Clinical development of cancer chemopreventive agents; Disparities in Hispanic Women and biomarkers associated with breast cancer risk

Connick, Elizabeth, MD Medicine

Area of Research: Smoking cessation and sleep quality in adults living with HIV

Coronado, Gloria, PhD Public Health

Area of Research: Improving colorectal cancer screening and follow-up and developing culturally relevant health education materials.

Curiel-Lewandrowski, Clara N., MD Medicine

Area of Research: Photobiology, early skin cancer detection, and primary prevention of skin cancers. 

Ellis, Nathan A., PhD Cellular & Molecular Medicine

Area of Research: Molecular pathological etiology of early-onset colorectal cancer and its impact on African Americans

Farland, Leslie, PhD Public Health 

Area of Research: Chronic disease risk, etiology and risk factors for infertility and gynecologic health conditions

Gachupin, Francine C., PhD Family & Community Medicine

Area of Research: Behavioral risks, chronic disease, and Obesity in Native American/American Indian youth

Garcia, David O., PhD Public Health 

Area of Research: Obesity-related health disparities among Hispanic men; preventing and treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Gordon, Judith S., PhD Nursing

Area of Research: Technology-based and image driven approaches to tobacco cessation

Hamann, Heidi, PhD Psychology

Area of Research: Psychological and behavioral aspects of cancer screening, diagnosis, and survivorship; stigma and cancer care delivery in vulnerable populations

Harris, Robin B., PhD Public Health

Area of Research: Skin cancer prevention, behavioral and lifestyle risk factors for cancer, environmental exposures, and cancer prevention among Native American and Hispanic populations

Liang, Rongguang, PhD Optical Sciences

Area of Research; Imaging and prob techniques for cancer detection

Limesand, Kirsten H., PhD Nutritional Sciences

Area of Research: Salivary gland function restoration in patients treated for head and neck cancer

Maier, Raina M., PhD Environmental Sciences

Area of Research: Mining waste contamination and health

Thomson, Cynthia A., PhD Public Health

Area of Research: Diet and behavioral interventions for the modification of cancer risk in Hispanic communities to reduce health disparities


Sarah Yeo, PhD, MPP

Main Focus: Cancer prevention in communities susceptible to health disparities

Sarah Yeo portrait

Sarah Yeo received her PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion from the University of Arizona in 2023, with focus on healthcare access and navigation among refugee women in the US. As part of her dissertation, she developed the healthcare navigation competency scale for refugees, a pivotal tool for assessing proficiency in navigating the US healthcare system. In her early career, Sarah worked as an evaluation and research specialist at World Vision and has led and managed research and evaluation projects worldwide, employing

diverse methodologies including cross-sectional surveys, anthropometric measurements, and qualitative approaches.

Research Interests:

Currently Sarah's research endeavors focus on elucidating multilevel factors influencing cancer prevention, including modifiable risk factors, cancer screening behaviors, and healthcare access among refugee populations. Her overarching goal is to advance the understanding of cancer health disparities and advocate for equitable healthcare access within refugee communities as an independent investigator.

Zachary Compton, PhD

Main Focus: Application of evolutionary theory to cancer biology 

Zachary Compton headshot

Zach Compton received his undergraduate degree in Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology from Arizona State where he stayed to complete a doctorate in Evolutionary Biology, earning his PhD in 2023. During his time there he founded and directed the Arizona Cancer Evolution Scholars program, which, by the time he stepped down as director in 2023, had provided research training and mentorship in cancer biology to over 150 undergraduate students.

Research Interests: 

Zach is interested in all the intersections cancer biology makes with evolutionary theory, particularly the evolution of therapeutic resistance in late-stage tumors. His current research focuses on leveraging evolutionary principles to understand the risk of cancer progression in pre-malignant head and neck lesions. He is passionate about bringing evolution into the cancer clinic, as well as to the classroom and wider audiences.

Felina Cordova, DrPH, MPH
Title: Assistant Professor, Public Health, University of Arizona


Main Focus: American Indians, caregiving and cancer

Felina Cordova portrait

Dr. Felina Cordova-Marks (member of the Hopi Tribe) completed her Doctorate in Public Health, MPH, and BS in Microbiology from the University of Arizona. Her dissertation was focused on caregiving (those providing care to a family member with cancer, chronic disease, disability and or the elderly) on the Hopi Reservation. Her current postdoctoral research is focused on Urban American Indian caregivers, looking specifically at caregiver duties, personal health, health behaviors (cancer screening), stress and resilience and their experience caregiving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cordova-Marks has published in peer-reviewed journals, and textbooks on lab-based cardiovascular research, clinical cancer research, health disparities, cancer, and American Indian caregiving. She was the lead author of the 2019 Arizona Town Hall Report Chapter “Spotlight on American Indians in Arizona.” She is the recipient of the University of Arizona Centennial Award (for Doctoral student), 2019 National Native American 40 under 40 Award and was recently named a “Difference Maker” by the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Carlos O. Garrido, PhD
Title: CRTA Fellow in Applied Health Communication, National Cancer Institute


Main focus: Psychosocial factors influencing minority health disparities, cognitive barriers to cancer screening and other health promotive behaviors

Carlos garrido portrait

Dr. Carlos Garrido completed his PhD in the fall of 2018 from The Pennsylvania State University—University Park, in the department of psychology with a strong emphasis on quantitative research methods. While studying social psychology at Penn State, he examined person-perception using a face-processing framework. Particularly, he examined how people extract various transient (e.g., emotional expressions) and static (e.g., phenotypic facial attributes) cues from the faces of others to form impressions and how stereotypes and prejudice (implicit and explicit types) affect the accuracy of such impressions. At the University of Arizona as a postdoctoral fellow, Carlos studies the influence of cognitive factors, such as cancer fatalism, on cancer screening intent and other health promotive behaviors. He also examines implicit stereotyping and prejudice in health care settings on the part of physicians against racial/ethnic minorities. Additionally, Dr. Garrido is slated to completed a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree in the fall of 2020. As part of his MPH internship, Carlos successfully designed and implemented an implicit bias/health equity workshop for employees of the largest health care provider in Tucson, Arizona. During his time at the University of Arizona, Carlos taught a 16-week advanced multivariate statistical course to a cohort of international scientific pharmacists. His long-term goal is to obtain a tenure-track professorship in the behavioral sciences.

Kristin Morrill, PhD
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow

Main Focus: Patient, provider, and system-level factors associated with delays in the initiation of cancer treatment among cancer survivors.

Dr. Kristin Morrill received her PhD in Nutritional Sciences in 2020 from the University of Arizona and her BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2014 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. During her doctorate, Dr. Morrill was supported through a Nutritional Sciences National Needs Fellowship through the United States Department of Agriculture and served as an Impact Leader Fellow through the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where she received early-career leadership training. Dr. Morrill’s graduate research harmonized her interest in health disparities research and nutrigenetics. The goal of her dissertation was to gather preliminary data to inform the development of a culturally-sensitive, genotype-informed intervention to treat and/or prevent the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Mexican-origin women. As a part of her dissertation, Dr. Morrill received training in community-engaged research, conducting systematic reviews, gene-diet interaction analyses, and mixed-methods research. Dr. Morrill’s research interests pivoted when she became passionate about addressing disparities in timely access to care in light of the pandemic’s effects on the healthcare system. Currently, her research involves identifying salient patient, provider, and system-level factors associated with delays in the initiation of cancer treatment among cancer survivors. Additional research interests include applying implementation science approaches to improve healthcare access and quality and psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors.

Echo Warner, PhD, MPH
Title: Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of Utah


Main Focus: Misinformation on social media among adolescents and young adults with cancer and their caregivers

echo Warner portrait

Dr. Warner completed her Master’s in Public Health with a Global Health Graduate Certificate at the University of Utah in 2011. Finding her passion in cancer survivorship and caregiving among adolescents and young adults, in 2014 she began the University of Utah College of Nursing doctoral program where she earned her PhD studying young adult cancer caregiver's use of social media for social support. As a doctoral student, she was supported by two prestigious national fellowships, the National Cancer Institute's Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award (F31) and the Jonas Philanthropies Jonas Scholar Fellowship. As a graduate student, Dr. Warner identified novel changes in five types of social support  (emotional, information, companionship, instrumental, and validation) that millennial cancer caregivers experience on social media in the first six months of caregiving. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Warner currently studies misinformation on social media among adolescents and young adults with cancer and their caregivers using novel information technology methods (e.g., natural language processing, eye-tracking). Her long-term goal is to develop equitable technology-based psychosocial interventions in AYA oncology that maximize the benefits (e.g., social support, information provision) and minimize the harms (e.g., misinformation) that patients and caregivers experience when they use social media for cancer information. In May 2020, she was one of 12 postdoctoral scholars to receive a Postdoctoral Research Development Grant and become a University of Arizona Sursum Fellow. As a first-generation college student from a frontier rural community, Dr. Warner is passionate about public health research that can directly contribute to improving wellbeing among the underserved. Her long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator at a research university with a focus on leveraging information technology and data analytics to improve psychosocial outcomes for AYA cancer patients and caregivers.

Celina I. Valencia, DrPH
Title: Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona

Main Focus: Social determinants of health and breast cancer mortality among rural Latinas

Celina Valencia portrait

Celina I. Valencia completed her Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) at the University of Arizona in 2017. During her doctoral training, Dr. Valencia’s worked on a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded clinical trial on secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease among diabetic patients in Northern Mexico. Currently, Dr. Valencia’s research examines the linkages of social determinants of health and breast cancer mortality disparities among rural Latinas with early onset cancer. Dr. Valencia is a National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Health Disparities Research Scholar. 

Rebecca Crocker, PhD 

Rebecca Crocker headshot

Rebecca Crocker received her PhD. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 2016. As Program Manager for the UACC T32 Program in Cancer Health Disparities, Rebecca works with prospective applicants during the application period and orients new Fellows around opportunities related to CPC-relevant grants and workshops, UA coursework, travel support, completing Individual Development Plans, and building a mentorship team. She facilitates weekly health disparity training for T32 Fellows on topics such as grant writing and management, NIH Biosketch development, and library and pre-award resources, and also leads regular writing workshops.

Research Interests: 

Rebecca brings her background in medical anthropology and extensive qualitative research experience in health disparities among Mexican immigrants in the southwest borderlands to enrich Fellows' training and offer new perspectives grounded in ethnographic field study. Her primary areas of research focus on the intersection of displacement and health and include lived experiences of migration and related suffering; sources of ecologic stress; traditional healing practices and Indigenous knowledge; binational barriers to health care; and health experiences related to diabetes and liver disease.