“When Bob passed away, we were thinking together as a family, and with people in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, about ways to honor his legacy, and also further his work at UNC.”
“One of the things that came very strongly to all of us was that while at the same time Bob had a very brilliant scientific mind and very amazing intellect, he also had an incredible way of working in a very supportive and warm way with people. Whether that was in doing research in breast cancer or in melanoma, or in his other relations here on campus like working with the crew team. When thinking about ways to honor his legacy, that really came to mind.”
“And in that context, the idea came to us of creating an endowment fund: The Robert Craft Millikan Cancer Epidemiology Fund & Award. Our thought was to focus in a way that could really have the most impact, in ways that maybe were the most meaningful for Bob.”
“And in that sense we thought supporting young researchers could be a really good way to do that. Bob had so many amazing relationships with young students, people he worked with, people he mentored, and that really came out after he passed away. There was such an outpouring of appreciation for him. And that really struck us as a way that would make a lot of sense.”
“So working together with Andy Olshan and also Sterling Frierson from the Gillings School, we came up with the idea of having an annual Award that would be given to an outstanding graduate student, who has really done outstanding research, that is working on their dissertation, and where that Award could make an important contribution to their ongoing research, and to their careers.”
Nikki, as she is known, is a 4th year cancer epidemiology PhD student who also received her MSPH in Epidemiology at UNC during her first two years in the program. Her Master’s paper was, “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and postmenopausal breast cancer: an evaluation of effect measure modification by body mass index and weight change”.
She is currently working on her dissertation. Her topic is, “Single and multipollutant air toxics in association with breast cancer risk and telomere length”. In her research she is “examining the impact of hazardous air toxics exposure on breast cancer risk and whether there are certain subgroups of women most susceptible to the effects of those pollutants”.
Congratulations to Ms. Niehoff upon receiving this Award! We wish her all the very best in her career and celebrate her “commitment to further understanding the etiology of breast cancer”.