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Center For Cancer Research National Cancer Institute
CCR SSSC Organization

Elected SSSC Officers (2016-2018)

Bethesda SS Co-Chair - Chin-Hsien (Emily) Tai

With a background in T-cell signal transduction and industry software development experience, I joined Byungkook (BK) Lee’s section as a Staff Scientist at the LMB in 2002 working on protein structure comparison and protein symmetry studies.  We led the assessment of international protein structure prediction contests, CASP6 and CASP10 in 2004 and 2012, respectively.  BK retired in February 2015 and now I report directly to our co-chiefs, supporting various computational needs within the LMB, ranging from NGS data analysis, protein structure modeling, and annual reporting to website management.
I have volunteered in the SSSC Annual Retreat Sub-Committee, and have been actively involved in the SSSC Professional Development Sub-Committee and the SSSC Communication Sub-Committee.  Understanding the importance of networking, I initiated and maintained the SSSC alumni database as a resource for our community and organized the alumni panel discussion in our Career Development Training Day in 2012.  I believe the SSSC organization plays an important role in representing the interest of the SSSC community, facilitating collaborations and assisting individual career growth, so we can maximize our contributions toward the common goals of NCI.

Bethesda SS Vice Co-Chair - Lakshmi Balagopalan

I have been a Staff Scientist at the Samelson lab in LCMB since 2011. Our laboratory studies T cell activation and I have recently focused on using novel imaging modalities to investigate how T cell signaling is initiated and sustained. Since becoming a Staff Scientist a few years ago, I feel every day the awesome privilege and responsibility of being in a unique and exciting scientific environment. I have been very impressed by the professionalism, knowledge base, talent and skill of my fellow Staff Scientists. But being part of this community and being a member of the SSSC Professional Development Subcommittee has also made me aware of some less exciting realities we face regarding professional immobility and job instability. In these past 5 years, I have observed the key role that the SSSC organization plays in representing the interests of all Staff Scientists and the mentoring of new Staff Scientists. As part of the SSSC leadership I would like to work towards strategies for professional growth and facilitate meaningful interactions between Staff Scientists so we can work at our creative and productive best. Enabling the success of the laboratories we work in is our critical role and it can and should be coincident with our own professional development. 

SC Co-Chair - Baris Ismail Turkbey


I have been working in the Molecular Imaging Program in the National Cancer Institute since 2007, first as a fellow and since 2012 as a Staff Clinician. As a Diagnostic Radiologist my research involves the use of MRI, PET and CT in the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. I have taken a leadership role in prostate cancer imaging in the CCR. I am the PI of several imaging clinical trials and work closely with urologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, computer scientists and medical oncologists to integrate imaging into the understanding of the disease with the goal of improving outcomes. This has taught me the importance of open communication and sharing of expertise and data. Since so much of my work involves collaboration, I am interested in ways to improve channels of communication for Staff Scientists and Staff Clinicians with PIs and other Staff Scientists/Clinicians both within the CCR as well as with other institutions. I am committed to seeking new solutions for greater involvement of Staff Scientists and Clinicians in the scientific enterprise at NIH. Those who know me say that I am a dedicated and trustworthy colleague. I hope to bring these qualities to the role of Staff Clinician Representative to the CCR SSSC Committee.

SC Vice Co-Chair - Jennifer Kanakry 


I obtained my MD from the joint program between Dartmouth Medical School and the Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University in 2007, after which I completed my Internal Medicine residency and Hematology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.  Prior to coming to NIH, I was a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Division of Hematology.  I have been a Staff Clinician within the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch since 2014 and serve as the Clinical Head of Transplant for the branch.  My clinical research is focused on allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases.  I have an interest in virus-associated malignancies and other virus-related complications related to immunodeficiency disease or the transplantation thereof, with a specific focus on Epstein Barr virus related diseases.  I would be honored to serve as the Staff Clinician representative for the CCR SSSC Committee.  If elected as a representative, I would focus on bringing forward activities and opportunities that foster collaboration career development of SC and SSs, as well as activities that promote networking and the exchange of scientific ideas, as well as provide opportunities for mentorship and professional advancement.

Frederick SS Co-Chair - Yien Che Tsai

I have been a Staff Scientist in Allan Weissman’s group in the Laboratory of Protein Dynamics and Signaling since 2011.  Since becoming a Staff Scientist, I have been active as a member of the SSSC organization and currently serve as Frederick Vice Co-Chair. The SSSC organization has helped to promote the professional development and recognition of Staff Scientists and Staff Clinicians, including professional development training and the new Outstanding Mentor Award for Staff Scientists and Staff Clinicians this year. I hope to continue our efforts to improve our visibility and career options.

Frederick SS Vice Co-Chair - Krista Frankenberry

Currently, antiretroviral drugs are the main treatment option for patients infected with HIV-1.  Due to persistent drug resistance and immune escape, alternative strategies are needed.  My research focuses on novel gene therapy strategies to treat HIV-1 using host restriction factors that potently block HIV-1 replication, such as APOBEC proteins.  I have been a Staff Scientist in the HIV Dynamics and Replication Program at the NCI-Frederick for the past 6 years, and have previously served as SSSC secretary. I thank the other Staff Scientists/Staff Clinicians for the nomination for Vice Co-Chair and look forward to being able to serve the SSSC community by keeping everyone informed of meetings, ideas, and issues important to our professional and career development.