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DaviliaDr. Davila is the director of STAR-PREP and is an Associate Professor at UMB in the department of Microbiology and Immunology. He received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences with a focus on Tumor Immunology from the Mayo Clinic where he remained and completed two postdoctoral research fellowships. Dr. Davila understands the tremendous impact that mentoring in research programs can have on the outcome of a scholar’s life trajectory and scientific career. He had the unique experience of being involved in research-oriented mentoring programs as a mentee from the time he was an undergraduate student where he participated in the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS) and Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), and as a post baccalaureate participated in the Patient-Oriented Research Program (similar to the PREP) at the Mayo Clinic. In addition to directing the STAR-PREP, Dr. Davila has an active research program focused on developing cancer immunotherapies funded by several federal grants from the National Cancer Institute, US Veterans Administration and nationally recognized Foundations.

Dr. Davila is also the program leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center at UMB. He largely attributes his success to these mentoring programs. Dr. Davila believes that diversity in the sciences is paramount. Diversification creates an environment of enhanced problem solving because people from diverse backgrounds often bring new perspectives to complex problems.


Antalis_Toni-labDr. Antalis is a Co-director for STAR-PREP. She received her PhD in biochemistry from Rice University and went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. Her current involvement at the University is extensive. She is a Professor of Physiology, Associate Director of the Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases, University of Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Center Training and Education Director, and Director of the Molecular Medicine Program in the GPILS program. She has provided important oversight to the Cancer Biology program since 2006. At the current time, she is co-director of a T32 Training program in Cancer Biology, which is funded by NIH. She is an investigator with a strong interest in oncology. She is extremely involved in conducting research and training scholars in basic and translational research.

She has a large amount of experience with training, as she has supported and mentored students pursuing master’s level degrees, predoctoral students and postdoctoral students over several decades. She has also provided insight and support as a member of over 30 thesis examination committees.  She has recruited highly qualified mentees and designed programs tailored to their needs. Dr. Antalis is fully invested in supporting efforts to recruit, train, and encourage underrepresented students in the sciences. She is enthusiastic about the opportunity to assist STAR-PREP scholars with honing their scientific skills and creating pathways to success. As a Co-Director, Dr. Antalis will serve on the STAR-PREP Selection committee and assist with graduate school applications, identifying strengths and weaknesses for STAR-PREP scholars, and help in developing solutions through the use of Individual Development Plans.

rogers-lab‌Dr. Rogers is a Co-Director for STAR-PREP. He completed his PhD in biochemistry from University of California, Davis. He then went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships in cell biology at the University of Nice Medical School in France and a neuroscience postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He is currently a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His research has resulted in a greater understanding of molecular signaling in cardiac cells. 

Dr. Rogers is also the Executive Director and Assistant Dean in the Dean’s Office of Research Affairs. For 16 years he was the director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP, MD-PhD Program).  During this time a priority for him was to increase the number of underrepresented minority MD-PhD students. In fact he increased the level of URMs from 0% to 25% during his tenure.  Importantly, through active mentoring, these students not only graduated but have continued training in outstanding Residency Programs such as those at Duke and Johns Hopkins.  He also has a great deal of experience with teaching in different settings, including medical courses, graduate courses, and MD-PhD workshops for undergraduates.   As a Co-Director, Dr. Rogers will host the workshop on “Applying to Graduate School” for STAR-PREP scholars. He will review and critique applications, assist with mock interviews, and participate in graduate school visits. Finally, he will attend forums throughout the year and help to address any additional issues that arise throughout the program.  


Carey-labDr. Carey is the Coordinator for STAR-PREP. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the Medical College of Virginia. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Guthrie Institute and a Research Fellow in the Department of Immunology at the Holland Lab of the American Red Cross.   He is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and a member of the Experimental Therapeutics Team in the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.  His research interest is in cancer biology; more specifically he investigates the signal transduction mechanisms employed by lymphoma for maximal growth and proliferation and to resist killing by therapeutic interventions. He is currently exploring how lymphoma cells utilize reactive oxygen species (ROS) in unconventional manners to resist death. He has been NIH funded for 14 years and is currently the co-P.I. on an NIH cancer research grant. He has support on NIH-funded training mentoring grants.

Dr. Carey directs the Student Summer Research in the Dean’s Office of Student Research (OSR). He directs the research activities of all of the Medical Students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and he also directs two funded training programs in the OSR for medical and undergraduate students. He has mentored students and faculty at various levels of their academic pursuits. He has mentored underrepresented minorities who have gone on to excel in competitions and in graduate and professional school. Students who have completed the UM Scholars Program he co-directs, have gone on to be authors on papers and be competitive candidates for medical and graduate school. Dr. Carey assists students and scholars with connecting the lab, classroom, and training experiences. Dr. Carey will have a pivotal role in the STAR-PREP and much like his prior mentoring experiences, he will assist with multiple facets of the program, including being a liaison for summer students, outreach, and PREP. He will assist with selection, recruiting, and counseling. He will attend PREP events to facilitate understanding and conversation.


Dr. Webb is one of two IDP Team Members for STAR-PREP. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She is also a member of the Tumor immunology and Immunotherapy group in the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her PhD from Indiana University in Viral Immunology. She went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at Indiana University in Transplant immunology and at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Cancer Immunology. Her research investigates efficacy of ex vivo expanded natural killer T cells as a cancer immunotherapeutic strategy.

She has experience with mentoring students at all levels including high school students, graduate students, fellows, medical students and residents. Her past mentees have experienced a great degree of success and have gone on to go on to medical school, PhD programs, graduated from doctoral and medical programs, and produce several high quality publications. Dr. Webb looks forward to using her research and training skills to help STAR-PREP scholars build on their talent. Her primary role in the program will be to ensure that PREP scholars are striving to meet their goals and strengthening their skills.  She will provide counseling for PREP scholars and will help them to navigate through career and personal issues. She will also lead the forums that are specifically designed for PREP.

McCarthyDr. Hassel is one of two IDP Team Members for STAR-PREP. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University and completed postdoctoral studies at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where he and colleagues were the first to clone the endonuclease RNase-L, a key mediator of antiviral activity. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the UMSOM where he has identified broader roles for RNase-L in cancer and innate immunity through research funded by NIH, ACS and the VA.

Mentoring and training have been a hallmark of Dr. Hassel’s career. He has served on thesis committees for more than 60 students and has been a primary mentor to 33 postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate trainees.  He is Director of the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, has taught in nine graduate and medical school courses and was awarded the GPILS Teacher of the Year in 2013. He serves leadership roles in several additional UMB training programs including as PI of the Nathan Schnaper undergraduate Intern Program in translational cancer research and as Funding and Sustainability Director for the NCI-funded UMB Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) minority STEM education pipeline. Dr. Hassel has served active roles on several minority-focused training programs including the BUILD/ASCEND and MBRS Rise undergraduate minority research programs at Morgan State University, the Pre-Marc-U-STARs and Meyerhoff Scholars programs at UMBC. Dr. Hassel’s prior mentoring and training experiences are ideal for his role an IDP Team Member. His primary role in the program will be to ensure that PREP scholars are striving to meet their goals and strengthening their skills. He will attend PIFS and counsel scholars. He will oversee the summer social activities.

Academic Program Specialist

Leanne‌Leanne Simington is the Academic Program Specialist. She provides day to day assistance with STAR-PREP including managing the webpage, recruiting, advertising, scheduling events, and answering questions from prospective scholars. She is also assisting with other training grants in the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.