Indian American scientist honored with Outstanding Achievement Award for Cancer Research


An Indian American scientist has bagged the Outstanding Achievement Award in Cancer Research from the Society of American Asian Scientists. The award was given to the senior scientist for her significant contributions to cancer research.

Cancer researcher Dr. Seema Singh is one of the recipients of the Outstanding Achievement Award 2023 from the Society of American Asian Scientists. The award was presented to her during the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research held in Orlando, Florida on April 16.

Singh is a professor of pathology at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama and a senior member of the Cancer Biology Program at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Singh joined Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI) in 2009 as an Instructor of Oncologic Sciences. She quickly established a robust, independent laboratory program and was promoted to assistant professor in 2012 and then to associate professor in 2016. Her primary areas of interest include the role of inflammatory signaling in cancer progression, angiogenesis, and metastasis, cancer stem cells, and cancer health disparities. After obtaining a Ph.D. in India in 2001, she received postdoctoral training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the area of tumor microenvironment, and breast and melanoma pathobiology. Her research programs have been funded through NIH/NCI, and she has also served on peer review committees to evaluate grant applications.

Dr. Singh is currently working on the identification of novel targets in melanoma, investigating the role of inflammatory and DNA damage pathways in the etiology, and progression of non-melanoma skin cancer. Dr. Singh’s team has discovered a novel role of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in the protection of keratinocytes from UV radiation-induced DNA damage and apoptosis. She is also exploring the role of differential tumor microenvironment in breast cancer racial disparity.

“Seema Singh, Ph.D., is a dedicated and thoughtful cancer researcher who is committed to curing breast cancer, understanding the biology of cancer health disparities, and educating future cancer biologists,” said Martin Heslin, M.D., M.S.H.A., director of the Mitchell Cancer Institute. “We are very honored to have her as a part of USA Health and the Mitchell Cancer Institute.”

Since joining the MCI in 2009, Singh has published more than 70 articles in scientific journals. Her research has been funded through the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Singh is a co-inventor of two patents issued in 2016 and 2017 involving methods and compositions for improved cancer diagnosis, classification, and treatment.

She was awarded an Excellence in Faculty Innovation Award from the USA Alumni Association in 2016, and the Mayer Mitchell Award for Excellence in Cancer Research from the Mitchell Cancer Institute in 2020. She was appointed to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama’s Medical Advisory Council in 2022.

Prior to joining the MCI, Singh completed postdoctoral training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the area of tumor microenvironment, and breast and melanoma pathobiology. She earned doctoral and postgraduate degrees from Aligarh M. University in India.

The Society of American Asian Scientists in Cancer Research is a nonprofit organization of more than 5,000 scientists from Asia who are working in the U.S. and Canada in the field of cancer research.

Singh said that it is a great honor to receive this award, and she is overwhelmed with gratitude for the recognition. “However, I must acknowledge that this achievement was not accomplished solely by myself, but rather it is a culmination of the efforts of a great team of students, fellows, and collaborators who have supported me throughout my journey,” she said. “I owe this award to each and every one of them, as their contributions and dedication have been essential to the success of my research.”

Singh added, “I am fortunate to have been a part of such a supportive community, and together, we will continue to work hard to find new ways to cure and manage cancer more effectively. I hope that through our research, we can ensure that each section of society benefits equally from the advances in cancer research, thus bringing health equity and justice.”


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