Women Scientists in Action
Goli Samimi, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Goli Samimi is Group Leader of the Ovarian Cancer Research Group at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA, and stayed local to do her undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles and earn her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Samimi did a short postdoctoral fellowship at the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, and then became a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the NIH. As part of the fellowship, she completed a Masters in Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, and then did postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute. While at NIH, Dr Samimi was honored with a merit award from the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, and twice received the Fellows Award for Research Excellence, co-sponsored by the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, the NIH Fellows Committee, the Scientific Directors, and the Office of Intramural Training and Education.
In 2009, Dr. Samimi was granted an NIH K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award to characterize stromal-epithelial interactions in ovarian cancer. This was a pivotal moment in Dr. Samimi's career, as the award supports the transition between postdoctoral research and a stable independent position. Her research group at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre/Garvan Institute focuses on the identification of novel therapeutic targets and using DNA methylation in plasma DNA as a biomarker for early stage ovarian cancer. Her ultimate goal is to develop a non-invasive early detection test for ovarian cancer in high-risk women. While she originally started studying ovarian cancer because it's a fascinating model for understanding chemotherapy resistance, she now finds that interacting with the public is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. She says, "I really enjoy writing and speaking about science. As part of my job, I get to educate the public on cancer research. I really enjoy answering their questions and hopefully making an impact."
In the two years since Dr. Samimi set up her research group, she has received numerous accolades. Most recently, she was named one of Australia's most inspiring women by Australia's Women's Health magazine. She is a member of multiple scientific societies, including the American Association for Cancer Research and the Australian Society for Medical Research, and has recently joined the PLOS One and Scientific Reports editorial boards.
Dr. Samimi raves about the excellent mentors she has had along her professional journey, especially her graduate advisor and thesis committee members. She still reflects on their advice, and tries to pass it along to her own students and fellows. She praises her current postdoctoral fellows for their talent and independence, and comments on how proud she is of having mentored a Ph.D. student who recently received his degree. She says, "It's a pretty incredible feeling to know that your supervision and expertise helped guide a student to complete an impressive thesis!”
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