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McNair Scholars Research Conference

Past Speakers

Dr. Clayton Yates

photo of Dr. Clayton Yates

Dr. Clayton Yates is a recognized expert in prostate cancer research. Dr. Yates earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2005 as well as a certificate of training in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine from the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Urology at Emory University’s School of Medicine. After completing his post-doctoral training in 2007, Dr. Yates started as a tenure track Assistant Professor at Tuskegee University in the Department of Biology and Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Yates was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and full Professor in 2014. He holds adjunct faculty positions at Clark Atlanta University in the Department of Biology and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Pathology.

Dr. Yates has been recognized by Cell-MENTOR (an online resource from Cell Press and Cell Signaling Technology) as 100 Most Inspiring Black Scientist in America. Dr. Yates’s lab focuses on prostate and breast cancer, particularly in African Americans. His lab has established several cell lines based models derived from African American patients used by many labs today to study molecular events that lead to prostate cancer development and metastasis. Additionally, Dr. Yates has identified multiple biomarkers for the prediction of aggressive cancers in African Americans with prostate or breast cancer, and this has led to the development of a novel tumor associated macrophage inhibitor that is posed to enter clinical trials in 2022. Dr. Yates’s lab has been continuously funded by NIH and DoD CMDRP/PCRP for over the last 14 years. During this time, he has trained 15 Ph.D. students, 28 Masters’ level students, and 5 postdoctoral trainees. He has mentored 10+ junior faculty through the MSM/TU/UAB Health Disparities Training Program, for UAB and TU faculty. Currently, five of these mentees have received tenure at their respective university.

Dr. Yates has spoken at many universities and conferences including the inaugural NCI Health Disparities Conference and the AACR Plenary Session and Distinguished Lecture series. Dr. Yates will be featured on NCI’s website for the NCI Annual Plan & Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 that will be provided to Congress President Joe Biden, and the public. Dr. Yates currently serves on the UAB External Advisory Board (EAB) for Training of Oncology Surgeons, University of North Carolina (UNC) NCI T32 External Advisory Board, Chair of the University of Florida (UF), University of Southern California (USC), Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) U54- NCI CPACHE. He has also received numerous research honors and awards, authored over 70+ peer-reviewed publications, and is a member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports.  Dr. Yates also serves as Co-Director for the Transatlantic Prostate Cancer Consortium, which focuses on understanding the tumor biology in native African men in Nigeria and developing novel clinical interventions for this population. Dr. Yates is currently the principal investigator (PI) of the NIH/NIMHD Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI), site PI of CTSA (jointly with UAB-hub institution), and PI of NIH/NCI U54 Cancer Health Disparities with Morehouse School of Medicine and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Emani Jerome

photo of Emani JeromeFor several years, Emani Jerome worked for City Year Miami, where he held several positions and worked in the Little Haiti, Overtown, Liberty City, and North Miami communities. During that time, he managed teams of AmeriCorps members while they executed an academically rigorous intervention program in several high-need middle and high schools focusing on addressing poor attendance, behavior, and course performance in reading and math. As City Year Miami’s Learning and Development Manager, he developed deeply collaborative relationships with organizations across Miami to help train and educate the site’s 212 AmeriCorps members. 

From there, Emani worked as the Assistant Director of the Center for Leadership and Service at Florida International University, where he oversaw the student engagement portion of the university’s social innovation strategy. This included overseeing a civic engagement mini-grant awarded to students to help fund community service projects in Miami, as well as a social entrepreneurship competition where students could pitch ideas for social ventures and receive mentorship and funding opportunities from a diverse range of industry professionals. 

Emani was the Miami Associate with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he helped oversee a $4.7M budget focused on building Miami’s innovation sector. Most recently, Emani returned to FIU to spearhead the university’s Ashoka Changemaker Initiative as the new Director of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship for StartUP FIU. 

Emani is passionate about connecting marginalized communities to opportunities that stimulate long-term cultural and economic growth. 

Dr. Stacy M. Lloyd

Dr. Stacy M. Lloyd is a scientist at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her primary research interest focuses on exploring the intersection of biology, social, environmental, and structural factors in the development and perpetuation of health inequities and disparities in the African American community. She employs integrative research models that include multilevel –omics, socio-behavioral factors, and machine learning.   

Dr. Lloyd has worked in the areas of breast, lung, and currently, prostate cancer accruing new methodological and technological approaches to further her research niche.  She is a member of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center (Baylor College of Medicine); Diversity, Inclusion, and Excellence Council; Health Disparities Education, Awareness, Research, and Training (HDEART) Consortium.  

Dr. Lloyd is a proud graduate of Prairie View A&M University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree, and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, where she received both her Master of Public Health in Public Health Genetics and her Doctor of Philosophy in Human Genetics.


Dr. Erika T. Camacho

photo of Dr. Erika Camacho

Dr. Erika T. Camacho is currently a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), serving as co-lead for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions program and a Program Director for the ADVANCE Program and the Racial Equity in STEM program. At Arizona State University, her home institution, she is a Professor in Applied Mathematics within the School of Mathematical & Natural Sciences. She has led multiple NSF and NSA projects supporting students’ research, faculty development, institutional change, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in STEM as principal and co-principal investigator.

Dr. Camacho is recognized as an expert in mathematical models of photoreceptor degeneration. Her work provided the first mechanistic models in this area and the first mathematical framework to guide experimental work in retina degeneration and blindness. Her research is at the interface of mathematics and physiology and involves analytical techniques, in silico experiments, computational work, and collaborations with experimentalists; she has numerous publications in high-impact journals.

Dr. Camacho’s passion for and prolific work in DEI and broadening participation in STEM has led to a multitude of efforts resulting in diversification of STEM research and education spaces. She is a renowned leader in diversity and mentoring of STEM students and faculty.

Her leadership, scholarship, and mentoring have won her numerous national recognitions including the 2020 SACNAS Presidential Services Award, the 2019 AAAS Mentor Award, the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from the White House, the 2020 Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Louise Hay Award for Mathematics Education, the 2018 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education Research/Teaching (Research Institutions) Award, the 2017 Great Minds in STEM Education Award, the Honorary Dean of the 2018 Youth Development Master’s Institute (previous awardees include Sandra Day O’Connor), the 2012 SACNAS Distinguished Mentoring Award, and the 2011 Hispanic Women’s Corporation National Latina Leadership Award among many other national awards and honors. She was a 2013-14 MLK Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Camacho grew up in East Los Angeles and was taught by Jaime Escalante at Garfield High School.  She received her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Wellesley College and earned her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University.  Dr. Camacho spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She then held a tenure-track faculty position at Loyola Marymount University before joining the faculty at ASU in 2007.   She co-directed multiple summer programs dedicated to the recruitment of undergraduate women, underrepresented minorities, and those that might not otherwise have the opportunity.  Dr. Camacho’s passion is to continue the work and legacy of her mentors: to create opportunities for those individuals from marginalized communities and make education and advancement attainable to them.

Dr. Contessa Metcalfe 

photo of Dr. Contessa Metcalfe Dr. Contessa Metcalfe was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up being involved in every activity imaginable, from debate, tennis, debutante, cheerleading, to even being crowned as her high school homecoming queen.

Dr. Contessa attended Xavier University of Louisiana, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology/Pre-Medicine and was crowned “Miss Xavier University.” She was awarded “Miss Congeniality” in the Miss Missouri USA pageant.  After graduating from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, she answered her call to patriotism, and she decided to join the Navy. The Navy taught her to fly and allowed her to travel the world as a flight surgeon. Dr. Contessa’s adventurous personality can also be displayed on television, where she is a main cast member on Bravo’s “Married to Medicine.”  Dr. Contessa completed her residency training at the National Naval Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. She focuses on medical safety as a pharmacovigilance physician for Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

Dr. Metcalfe is also a successful entrepreneur. She owns Chastain Integrative Medicine, located in the prestigious Buckhead region of Atlanta, Georgia, where she specializes in preventive, occupational, and addiction medicine.  She is also co-owner of Haute’ Doc Nutraceuticals, a supplier of high-quality vitamins and supplements.

When Dr. Metcalfe is not on the clock, she enjoys reading, writing, riding motorcycles, traveling, and spending quality time with her family. Dr. Contessa is also a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and a volunteer at Buckhead Church with the children’s ministry, “UpStreet.”

She is married to family physician Dr. Walter Scott Metcalfe, and they share three beautiful children, Lauren (13), Landon (11), and Laila (7), whom she considers her heart, soul, and by far her greatest accomplishments. Dr. Metcalfe is an advocate of criminal justice reform, health equity, and mental health, especially in marginalized communities and veterans. She lives by the motto, “Food is medicine, and prevention is the key to healthy living.”