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Cancer researcher, MacArthur fellow is Commencement speaker

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Dr. Olufunmilayo “Funmi” Olopade, an internationally respected cancer researcher and MacArthur fellow, will deliver the Commencement address at North Central’s 145th graduation ceremony June 12. Olopade is the associate dean for global health and professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. As a physician and scientist, she epitomizes the “bench to bedside” philosophy in her application of scientific discoveries to clinical medicine. As an internationally recognized hematologist/oncologist, Olopade specializes in cancer risk assessment, prevention, early detection and treatment of aggressive breast cancer that disproportionately affects young women. “Part of our work as scientists is not only to study biology and science, but also to engage society,” Olopade says. “If we can’t translate our research to help young people, then why are we doing the work?” Olopade received her medical degree with distinction from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She came to the United States as a resident in internal medicine at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, where she was named chief medical resident. She then completed her postdoctoral fellowship training in the Section of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago and became founding director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health in 1992. In addition, Olopade collaborates with clinicians and scientists around the world to reduce the global burden of cancer and improve health in resource-poor nations.