UAB alumna to be featured in Grand Central Station projection

Hadiyah-Nicole Green, UAB alumna, will be recognized by GE in a Grand Central Station display for research in cancer treatment.
Written by: Justin Marden
Media contact: Shannon Thomason,

grand central stationFor a few days in September, General Electric will use the ceiling of New York City’s Grand Central Station as a canvas to showcase the impressive accomplishments of women in scientific fields. Among these pioneers is Hadiyah-Nicole Green, Ph.D., an alumna of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine, whose research in cancer treatment is taking a new approach to curing the often-fatal disease.

The Grand Central project, which uses 32 projectors to turn famous constellations into portrayals of innovative women in the field of science, will go live Sept. 19 and continue through Sept. 21. The team behind the project created a 3-D model of the ceiling based on a laser scan of the surface. After mapping the scan, they were able to create a projection image that will fill the space precisely. More than 750,000 people who pass through the station every day will see the meaningful and spectacular projections.

By displaying the projections in a high-traffic area like Grand Central Station, GE hopes to highlight innovative women in scientific fields who often do not receive recognition for their groundbreaking research and development.

Green, who graduated from UAB with a master’s degree in physics in 2009 and a doctorate in physics in 2012, spent five years at UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, and one year at the Department of Pathology. She is one of several women being featured in the project. Her work in cancer treatment was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development. The grant allows Green to take her treatment to clinical trials with hopes it may carve a new path forward in the fight to defeat cancer.

Green’s research combines physics and biology to specifically target cancer in a patient. By using nanoparticles, Green is able to isolate, identify and eliminate cancer cells. The nanoparticles are injected into the patient and find their way to the cancer in the affected areas of the body. The nanoparticles cause the cancer to glow when viewed through imaging equipment, helping physicians identify and treat it.

Using laser-focused radiation to heat the nanoparticles, it is possible to destroy the cancerous cells from within. This method has been explored in the past, but Green’s background in physics allowed her to perfect some of the challenges that arose with previous attempts. Green’s research has already seen success in mice and other animals.

She is the founder of the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation; its mission is to change the way cancer is treated and reduce human suffering by providing cancer care that is accessible, affordable and effective. Find the foundation on Facebook or on Twitter at @WeAreOraLee.