Latonia Taliaferro-Smith, PhD

Titles and Roles

Instructor of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Research Program
Cancer Cell Biology


Under the outstanding mentorship of Dr. Ruth O'Regan, Dr. Taliaferro-Smith's research has focused on deciphering the mechanisms that control the aggressive and metastatic behaviors of triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) and on identifying and validating clinically relevant biomarker as novel therapeutic targets for treating this deadly disease.


Upon completion of her B.S. in Pre-Med/Biology from Dillard University, Dr. Taliaferro-Smith attended Howard University Graduate School as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Pre-doctoral Fellow where she earned a PhD Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Following graduate school, she completed a two-year postdoctoral appointment at The Cancer Center for Research and Therapeutic Development at Clark Atlanta University where her research focused on the role of the bone microenvironment in prostate cancer metastasis. Next, Dr. Taliaferro-Smith completed a three-year NIH/IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) in the laboratory of Dr. Dipali Sharma at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The FIRST fellowship is a successful program in the Emory University School of Medicine that provides postdoctoral fellows with both research support and training in teaching methods that are useful to their career development.


The laboratory Dr. Taliaferro-Smith works in focuses on biomarkers and biological mechanisms governing TNBC metastatic recurrence in an effort to aid in the development of novel therapies that reduce the deaths linked to TNBC metastasis. Their research goals are to decipher the mechanisms linking growth factor signaling to cell polarization, invasion, and metastasis in TNBCs and to evaluate effects of combined inhibitors as a therapeutic approach for inhibiting metastasis. They specifically examine the crosstalk between growth factor receptors and focal adhesion as a potential mechanism that regulates the metastatic behavior of TNBCs.


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