Katherine Hoadley: Face of Breast Cancer Researcher

Katherine Hoadley: Face of Breast Cancer Researcher

Like the promise Nancy G. Brinker made to her dying sister Susan G. Komen, Researcher Dr. Katherine Hoadley is dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

At a very young age, Katherine knew she wanted to be a scientist. Following in the footsteps of her father who is a toxicologist, her first job at age 16 was with the U.S. Department of Agriculture doing plant research.

katherine-hoadleyKatherine first came to the Triangle seeking her doctorate in genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She began working for Dr. Chuck Perou, whose lab research focuses on the molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Her graduate work studied an aggressive form of the disease called basal-like or triple negative breast cancer. Katherine continues to study the complexity of breast cancer as a Research Assistant Professor at UNC.

“I’ve been researching aggressive breast cancers for 12 years, characterizing them and trying to figure out how to better treat them so that we can positively affect patient outcomes,” Katherine says. “We need to change the thinking that all breast cancers are the same and can be treated similarly because the disease is more complex than we originally thought.”

While in college at West Virginia Wesleyan, Katherine was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority. ZTA is a national sponsor of the breast cancer Survivor Recognition Program for Susan G. Komen and the Research Triangle ZTA Alumnae group participates in the Triangle Race for the Cure. Katherine began as a Race volunteer with ZTA more than 10 years ago. She likes attending the Race to hear survivor stories and successes.

“I’m in a lab all day and am not involved with patients. The Race gives me an opportunity to meet survivors and try to make their morning at the Race the best it can be. They’re the motivation behind the research that I do in the lab,” said Katherine.

She also serves as the co-chair of the Race Survivor Committee, which is in charge of the Survivors’ Tent and Race survivor awards among other things.

At the Race, Katherine and about 30 other ZTA volunteers pass out breast exam cards, breast cancer pamphlets and information, gifts and smiles to survivors. “At the Race I get to see hundreds of survivors who are conquering this disease with their family and friends supporting them. It’s very emotional watching them line up and walk together in the Survivors tribute, according to the years they’ve been a breast cancer survivor,” she said.

Katherine is the Face of a researcher dedicated to saving lives. From the Race to the lab, she is making a difference in the lives of women and men who have been touched by breast cancer.

Go to Top