Skip to Main Content


Aileen Fernandez, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate


Aileen I Fernandez's postdoctoral research is in translational oncology and focuses on identifying and developing biomarkers to better identify which patients with cancer will respond to targeted therapies, improving patient care. In 2022, she was selected as a Duke Next Generation Leader, a Burroughs Wellcome Postdoctoral Diversity Enrichment Program (PDEP) Fellow, and a Fred Hutch Eddie Méndez awardee. She was a Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Multidisciplinary Post-Doctoral Training Program fellow in 2021-2022.

Aileen completed her PhD in the Tumor Biology training program at Georgetown University (GU) in 2019. While there, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Rebecca B. Riggins and focused on triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive breast cancer subtype that disproportionally affects African-American women and lacks targeted therapies. Her work encompassed studying orphan nuclear receptor estrogen-related receptor beta (ERRb) expression and culminated in characterization of ERRb in vitro, in silico, and in tissues. While at GU, Aileen co-founded the Women in Science and Education (WISE) group with her colleagues, serving as the group’s strategist, secretary, and diversity liaison.

Aileen is passionate about leveling accessibility in science and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also strongly believes in improving science communication to better disseminate information from the scientists’ bench to society. Since joining Yale, she co-founded the Yale School of Medicine Black Postdoctoral Association and the Yale Postdoctoral Association's (YPA) Racial Justice Subcommittee, co-coordinated the YPA Professional Development committee in 2021, and was a member of the Department of Pathology's DICE committee for two years. She actively works on initiatives, including the Intersections Science Fellows Symposium, to highlights the needs of URM postdocs and how we can address them to increase retention in academia.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Georgetown University, Tumor Biology (2019)
  • MSc
    University of the District of Columbia, Cancer biology, prevention, and control (2013)
  • BS
    SUNY Purchase, Biology (2010)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Dr. Eddie Méndez AwardFred Hutchinson Cancer Center2022
Postdoc Diversity Enrichment Program (PDEP)Burroughs Wellcome Fund2022
Duke Next Generation LeaderDuke University2022

Departments & Organizations