In 2012, Dr Hadiyah-Nicole Green became the second African-American woman to obtain a PhD in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Green became the first in her family to attend college. She gained admission to Alabama A&M University with a full scholarship, where she pursued physics and earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and optics in 2003.
After obtaining her first degree, she went on to further her education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with another full scholarship, where she earned her Master of Science in physics in 2009 and her PhD in physics in 2012.
She spent five years at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and later, a year at the Department of Pathology.
Green had a difficult childhood. She was orphaned at a very young age and lived with her aunt and uncle in St Louis, Missouri while growing up.
Between her undergraduate and graduate work, Green’s aunt, Ora Lee, was diagnosed with cancer but refused to go through treatment.
Green spent nearly three months attending to her aunt until she died. Three months after her death, her uncle, General Lee Smith, was also diagnosed with cancer.
While tending to her uncle, Green watched as her uncle suffered from the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, which, to her, seemed little better than what her aunt went through.
She realised the impact of chemotherapy on the body and wanted to find a better treatment for cancer.
After she graduated school, Green became an assistant professor at Tuskegee University in the Department of Material Science and Engineering.
In 2016, she also became an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in the Physiology department.
Green was a recipient of a $1.1 million grant to further develop a technology she pioneered that uses laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer.
Testing her treatment on mice was a success and Dr Green became the first person to successfully cure cancer using nanoparticles.