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CVM Alum Named to 100 Most Influential African Americans List

NC State College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus Tyler Allen has been named one of the 100 most influential young African Americans by The Root.

Allen, 26, who earned a Ph.D. in comparative biomedical sciences from the CVM this year, was cited for his groundbreaking research on how cancer spreads in the body, work conducted as a member of the lab of Ke Cheng, CVM professor of regenerative medicine.

He is among the youngest members on The Root 100 list, the online magazine’s annual compendium of influential African Americans between the ages of 25 and 45 behind barrier-breaking work. Allen ranks No. 70 on the list and is featured in the STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — category.

The Root singled out Allen for his research on how certain cancer and tumor cells exit the bloodstream to form new tumors, dubbed the cancer exodus hypothesis. The discovery could pave the way more for more effective stem cell therapies and lead to early detection of cancer spreading.

“It’s clear that Allen is already revolutionizing cancer research, hopefully changing the way we fight cancer for future generations,” notes The Root.

Earlier this year, Allen was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, a look at visionaries in different industries, featured in the Science category for his cancer research. Allen is now a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University. One other NC State alum made The Root 100: Khalia Braswell, the CEO and founder of INTech, a nonprofit fostering interest in technology among young girls of color.  

Notable names on the The Root 100 list include athletes Serena Williams and LeBron James, rappers Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B, writer-producers Issa Rae, Lena Waithe and Jordan Peele, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and politicians Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum. Topping the list this year is activist Tarana Burke, credited with founding the Me Too movement.

“It is an honor being recognized on such an impactful list, especially a list filled with such a plethora of outstanding influencers, many of whom I admire a great deal,” Allen said.

Allen earned a bachelor’s degree from NC State in molecular and plant biology with a minor in genetics. He joined Cheng’s lab in 2014 and was also part of a CVM team that showed how to quickly create large numbers of stem cells for medical treated and developed synthetic cardiac stem cells.

Throughout his time at the CVM, Allen also earned recognition for creating colorful, easy-to-understand video presentations of his complex work. In 2017, he received a predoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute.

“There was something that was so appealing about the biomedical aspect of the research being done at the vet school,” said Allen after he was selected for the Forbes list. “I wanted to focus on an area where I felt there was already a huge need for research or that there would be an increasing need in the future. Both cancer and heart disease fall into that area. I wanted to contribute.”

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine