Diana Merino Vega serves as Director, Research Partnerships at Friends of Cancer Research (Friends). Friends is an advocacy organization based in Washington, DC that drives collaboration among partners from every healthcare sector to power advances in science, policy, and regulation that speed life-saving treatments to patients. For more than two decades, Friends has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of policies ensuring patients receive the best treatments in the fastest and safest way possible.
Diana is passionate about designing, coordinating and implementing innovative solutions, as well as disseminating scientific research findings with the aim of accelerating progress in cancer care. Her own experience with the disease drives her desire to improve the lives of cancer patients and survivors through the development of collaborative initiatives. She has accumulated a wealth of experience through her roles as cancer advocate, spokesperson, member, and chair of various committees and councils that seek to improve the personal and professional development of young cancer investigators, and the quality of life of cancer survivors.
At Friends, Diana will coordinate and execute scientific research collaborations that promote evidence generation for the development of evidence-based policies, which will improve care for cancer patients and survivors, facilitate dialogue across stakeholders, and continue advocating on behalf of cancer patients and survivors.
Diana received her PhD in cancer genetics from the University of Toronto and a MSc in human health and nutritional sciences from the University of Guelph in Ontario. She pursued her postdoctoral research work at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Radiation Epidemiology Branch. Her work focused on identifying the genetic determinants of second cancers in cancer survivors, and elucidating risk for second sarcoma in survivors of pediatric and young adult cancers.