Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition

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GNBCC travels with high school students to the Breast Cancer Environment Research Program Conference (BCERP) in Monrovia, California (left to right) Amrita Shah, Sayo Ogunleye, Lisa Levine, Laura Weinberg, Zainab Mian

Lisa Levine and Laura Weinberg display a poster at the conference on GNBCC's Students and Scientists Breast Cancer/Environment Research Program

Sayo Ogunleye displays a poster on the benefits of Vitamin D

Zainab Mian, Amrita Shah (GNBCC), Subhana Zafar (of HBCAC) proudly present posters of their summer research as Karen Miller (HBCAC) and Laura Weinberg join them.

Zainab Mian, Amrita Shah at their poster on Mammary Gland and Disease with their research mentor, Laura Vandenberg, Ph.D of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

BCERP Table photo: GNBCC's Lisa & Laura at the BCERP Conference with Amrita, Zainab and Sayo


GNBCC Launches its 2017 Students & Scientists Breast Cancer/Environment Research Program, in its 13th year!: Nine students from three high schools interning at four Northeastern research facilities:

  • Dr. Mary Beth Terry at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  • Soto/Sonnenschein Lab at Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Laura Vandenberg at University of Massachussets/Amherst
  • Dr. Richard Gross at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Congrats to our 2017 student interns!

  • Amrita Shah, Zainab Mian,Noah Ahmed, Sayo Ogunleye, Mahnoor Ali
    (Sewanhaka H.S.)
  • Haley Klein, Ophir Sabah, Aaron Abizadeh
    (North Shore Hebrew Academy High School)
  • Isabelle Saraf (Great Neck North High School)

2015 & 2016 GNBCC Alumni pictured (left to right): Selena Thomas, Ailin Elyasi, Isabelle Sehati, Kayla Lieb, Mohammad Samroz, Adrian James Gevero, Shaheer Khan



Congratulations to GNBCC's 2015 summer interns!

(left to right, top row): Shaheer Kahan, Sydney Saint-Hillaire, Selena Thomas (Sewanhaka H.S.) Sunny Shi, Michael Shen (Great Neck South H.S.)

(left to right, bottom row): Kiana Kerr (Sewanhaka H.S.), Ailin Elyasi, Isabelle Sehati, Jasmine Wong (Great Neck North H.S.)

Shaheer, Sydney, Sunny, Jasmine and Michael are currently interning at Rensselaer Poly Tech Institute, Green Chemistry laboratory of Dr. Richard Gross

Kiana and Selena are interning at Dr. Laura Vandenberg's laboratory at UMASS/Amherst

Isabelle and Ailin are interning at the Soto/Sonneschein Laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine


Congrats to GNBCC's 2014 Students!

Sunny Shi, Michael Shen, Robin Shum: Rensselaer PolyTech Institute, Richard Gross, Ph.D Laboratory Andreas Pavlou, Jacob Rigos: Yale University School of Public Health, Yong Zhu, Ph.D Laboratory Nicole Lalezarzadeh, Sandra Glotzer: Tufts University School of Medicine, Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory

(top row, left to right): Sunny Shi, Michael Shen, Andreas Pavlou, Jacob Rigos.
(bottom row): Laura Weinberg,GNBCC, Robin Shum, Nicole Lalezarzadeh, Sandra Glotzer, and Lisa Levine, GNBCC


Summer 2014 internship at the Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory: Nicole Lalezarzadeh and Sandra Glotzer present on breast cancer and the Environment.

(left to right): Ana Soto, M.D., Cheryl Shaeberle, Sandra Glotzer, Nicole Lalezarzadeh, Carolos Sonnenschein, M.D., Laura Weinberg, GNBCC

(left to right): Cheryl Shaeberle, Sandra Glotzer, Nicole Lalezarzadeh, Carlos Sonnenschein, M.D., Ana Soto, M.D.



GNBCC Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of its Students & Scientists Breast Cancer/Environment Research Program



Students Attend Health Conference

Breast Cancer prevention was the goal when the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition (GNBCC) created its Students & Scientists Breast Cancer/Environment Research Program nine years ago. Local high school students intern at laboratories addressing breast cancer causation and environmental links to breast cancer. 


GNBCC at the BCERP conference in Madison with 2013 sponsored students


Sammy Hijazi, who interned at Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, displaying a poster of his and Justin Baroukhian's summer research


Lisa Levine, Laura Weinberg (GNBCC) with 2013 students at the poster session: Prasanth Kurup, Sammy Hijazi, Lawrence Lin, Kaeli Groenert.


Lawrence Lin and Prasanth Kurup displaying their poster of their summer research at NYU Poly Tech during 2012 and 2013.


Gary Ellison, Ph.D of the National Cancer Institute and Sammy Hijazi at the BCERP Poster session.


January 2007

Students who have been awarded the GNBCC scholarship in 2005 and 2006, Karen Brachot, Leah Goldman, Monika Lalezarzedah, and Sofie Einbinder. In center of photo is Laura Weinberg, president of GNBCC, and Bonnie Graham, host of Cable TV show, "Something to Talk About". The show with the students aired in January 2007


Christine Lee and Kaeli Groenert in front of the Tufts University School of Medicine building where they interned in summer 2013 at the Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory.


Lawrence Lin developing bio plastics in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Gross at NYU Poly Tech during summer 2013.


Senator Jack Martins congratulates GNBCC 2013 sponsored students from the Students & Scientists Breast Cancer/Environment Research Program. As quoted by Senator Martins on GNBCC Facebook page:

"Thank you so much for sharing your presentation with me. You are all doing special work. On behalf of myself and my family and the State of New York, thank you!"


High School Summer Research
Summer Interns

Justin Baroukhian and Sammy Hijazi, two high school students from Long Island, New York spent a month this summer working in connection with Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry and Beyond Benign as research interns.

Justin and Sammy were selected and sponsored by the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition's Students & Scientists Breast Cancer/ Environment Research Internship Program. Their research focused on whether a polymer called VBT (vinylbenzyl thymine) would work as a dye stabilizer since PCB's found in dye stabilizers have been linked to cancer. The two interns applied the polymer to fabric, irradiated it using UV light and evaluated the density of the dye using digital images. Their experimentation focused on the concentration of dye, techniques for applying the coating and drying the fabric along with variability of UV light. After less than a month of working diligently in the lab, the two interns had found that their experiment provided solid evidence that VBT coated fabrics did appear to hold the dye better than the control fabric. Through this internship, Baroukhian and Hijazi had gained experience working in a lab and were able to learn important skills such as proper lab and safety procedures and how to utilize machines such as the scanning electron microscope and UV cross linker. For both Baroukhian and Hijazi, the experience at Beyond Benign and WBI was both unforgettable and immensely rewarding. Baroukhian said "The scientists were very welcoming and took time out of their days to give advice and tell stories about how they got to where they are now. We came with a high school chemist's knowledge and left with a knowledge that was far beyond that."


Students & Scientists Program 2013 Launched!

2013 interning students: Christine Lee (Soto Sonnenschein Lab), Kaeli Groenert (Soto Sonnenschein Lab), Prasanth Kurup (NYU Poly Tech) Lawrence Lin (NYU Poly Tech), Justin Baroukhian (Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry), Sammy Hijazi (Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry)

Sean Liu and Rick Mathews show their 2012 poster on Light at Night
and breast cancer risk

Katherine Lee and Sylvie Budick-Rubin show their 2012 poster on Safer Alternatives to BPA in Food Can Linings

Lawrence Lin and Prasanth Kurup discuss their internship at NYU Poly Tech in 2012 on the development of safer plastics through green chemistry. They will return to NYU Poly Tech for another internship in summer 2013.



Sylvie Rubin-Budick and Katherine Lee accept "Best Student Poster Award" from Robert Hiatt, Ph.D at BCERP San Francisco Conference, November 2012.


December 2012 meeting with North Shore Hebrew Academy High School's Science Club and Science Teachers. Elena Katan presented a powerpoint of her summer internship at the Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory, sponsored by GNBCC.



Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition Congratulates John Yang, participant in GNBCC's Students & Scientists program: Intel Semi-Finalist 2012!

(left to right):  Mrs. Yang, John Yang, Laura Weinberg, president of GNBCC 

Jeong Yun (John) Yang of Great Neck South High School was sponsored by GNBCC at Stony Brook University through GNBCC's Students & Scientists program. John began his internship in July 2011 and will continue in the GNBCC program through Summer 2012 working on the the toxicity of nanoparticles and their effect on breast cancer. John was honored by the GNBCC board for the research which won him the Intel recognition.


LI students honored for cancer research

Newsday Features Students and Scientists United for Breast Cancer Prevention Research Program, Jan. 5, 2012



Breast Cancer and Parabens? 
By Heidi Park for Wellesley College Blog

Earlier this month, researchers at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Center at the University Hospital of South Manchester, England, released the results of a three-year study that measured the concentrations of five parabens at four different locations across the human breast using human breast tissue collected from 40 women undergoing mastectomies for primary breast cancer (J App Toxicol.Jan. 12, 2012). This most recent study found one or more paraben esters in 158/160 (99 percent) of the tissue samples, and in 96/160 (60 percent) all five esters were present.



John Yang of Great Neck South High School and Kayla Neville of Commack High School are Honored

John Yang of Great Neck South High School and Kayla Neville of Commack High School are honored in this video by Senators Martins and Flanagan in the New York State Senate on March 5, 2012 for the work they conducted at Dr. Balaji Sitharaman's Laboratory through our "Students and Scientists United for Breast Cancer Prevention Research Program"

Click here for video


Congressman Steve Israel with students from the Great Neck and Huntington coalitions' Student/Scientists Program 

(left to right) Congressman Steve Israel, Eugene Park and Laura Weinberg


Congratulations to the GNBCC and HBCAC Student Interns for Summer 2011 

left to right standing: Harrison Ferlauto (Commack H.S. ), Joshua Solomowitz (Huntington H.S.), Catherine Wang (Great Neck North H.S.),

Melissa Wing (Northport H.S.), Yonatan David (North Shore Hebrew Academy H.S. of Great Neck), John Yang (Great Neck South High School)
left to right seated: Megan Hansen (Huntington H.S.), Kayla Neville (Commack H.S. ), Vita Jaspan (Great Neck South H.S.)


2010 Internship Recipients

(left to right) Kim Shen, Pablo Palacios, Chirag Munim, Eugene Park (Great Neck South High School), Ravitha Rasha Eugene Park and Ravitha Rasha will be interning at the Ana Soto Laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Pablo Palacios, Kim Shen and Chirag Munim will be interning at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts. Congratulations to all five students!



On April 5th, Zoe Schacht-Levine (left) of Great Neck North High School and Aliyah Cohen (right) of Huntington High School were video taped for their 2009 summer internship experience at the world-renowned Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts,sponsored by the Great Neck and Huntington Breast Cancer Coalitions.The two students displayed their poster seen in this photo at a recent national conference. In the video taping both Zoe and Aliyah explain the details of their poster on mammary gland carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals found in personal care products. For more information on the important breast cancer/environmental research being conducted at Silent Spring Institute go to:


Alumni Student from GNBCC Students & Scientists Program Organizes Presentation on Endocrine Disruptors at Wellesley College on February 23, 2010

Heidi Park, 2007 alumni student of the GNBCC internship program and of Great Neck South High School, now a sophomore at Wellesley College, initiated and helped organize an educational presentation through the Wellesley College Biology Department called: "Our Stolen Future: Endocrine Disruptors, What They Mean for Us and What You can Do".

Maricel Maffini, Ph.D spoke about endocrine disrupters, including Bisphenol A, and their association with several adverse health effects including breast and prostate cancer. Laura Weinberg also presented by identifying several endocrine disrupting chemicals and gave examples of how to avoid them.

Thank you T. Kaye Peterman, Ph.D, Chair of the Biological Sciences Department and the entire Biology Department at Wellesley College for coordinating this presentation.

Left to Right: Laura Weinberg, president of GNBCC, Heidi Park, Alumni Student from GNBCC Student program, now a sophomore at Wellesley College.

Left to Right: Laura Weinberg, president of GNBCC, Heidi Park, sophomore of Wellesley College, Maricel Maffini, Ph.D. of Soto Laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine


Karolina Woroniecka from G.N. South High School and Regina Roofeh from G.N. North High School receive a certificate of excellence from the Breast Cancer Environmental Research Centers for their poster presentation on 11/14/08.



Regina Roofeh (left) from
Great Neck North High School and Karolina Woroniecka from Great Neck South High School are the summer 2008 students who will intern at the Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory at Tufts University Medical Center under the GNBCC internship program.

The Student/Scientist program is growing. Since 2005, there are now seven students who have worked at laboratories which address environmental links to cancer.

GNBCC trailblazing students, Leah Goldman and Karen Brachot in 2005 at Breast Cancer Environmental Research Center Conference (BCERC) where they displayed a poster of their internship at the Soto/Sonnenschein Laboratory at Tufts University School of Medicine.

From left: Les Reinlib. Ph.D, program director of Breast Cancer Environmental Research Centers ( Gwen Collman, Ph.D chief of the Susceptibility and Population Health Branch in DERT. Leah Goldman of Great Neck North High School, Karen Brachot of Great Neck South High School and Laura Weinberg, president of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition. (GNBCC)


In summer 2005, Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition founded and implemented a High School Research Internship Program which sent one student from both Great Neck South High School and one from Great Neck North High School to Dr. Ana Soto’s Laboratory of Tufts University Medical School in Boston to study environmental influences and links to breast cancer..

As well as assisting with breast cancer/environmental research at the lab, the two Great Neck students, Karen Brachot and Leah Goldman, had an in depth education in cell biology and a hands on laboratory experience. Both Karen and Leah described this internship program “as one of the best experiences they ever had.”

Special thanks to Ana Soto M.D., Maricel Maffini Ph.D, Carlos Sonnenschein M.D., Laura Vandenberg, Ph.D., Tessa Murray Ph.D and everyone else at Ana Soto’s Laboratory for helping us initiate this program and for the gift of giving our students, the next generation of scientists, a summer learning experience that they will never forget.

Also, special thanks to the Great Neck Public School District for all of their help in getting this program off the ground; and to our two trailblazing Great Neck students, Karen Brachot and Leah Goldman, for making this program a success and setting an example for students around the nation.


To view evaluation of this internship program click on pdfs below:

  • Brochure that explains how to implement this high school scholarship program in your community (pdf format)
  • Become a Corporate Co-Sponsor of our Students & Scientists Program. Click on this link to see how. (pdf format)