After Dr. Hadiyah Nicole Green lost her aunt and uncle to cancer, she dedicated herself to fighting it. Her aunt and uncle were both her sole guardians, who raised her from a tender age. Sdr. Green was orphaned at an early age and was taken in by them as their own. She took up the fight against cancer so that it would not take away loved ones from others. So, while working for a doctorate degree in Physics, she began to put in efforts to discover how technology can be used to kill cancer cells. The doctor decided to put in years of her life towards hands-on work and research: and as a result she developed a laser technology using nanoparticles, able to destroy cancer cells.
Dr. Green attended a computer science summer program at Xavier University after high school. She then went on to attend Alabama A&M University with a full scholarship. She successfully earned her Bachelor’s degree in physics and optics in 2003. And reports have it that in 2009, “Green received her Master of Science degree in physics at the University of Alabama. She earned her PhD in physics in 2012. She is the 76th out of 100 black women who have a PhD in physics in the United States.”
Green’s work and determination began after she witnessed the process of losing her guardians to cancer. Her aunt, Ora Lee, battled with cancer but chose to die instead of going through “chemo and radiation.” Her uncle, General Lee Smith on the other had agreed to go through the treatment, after the diagnosis.
Green recalls, “Seeing him lose 150 pounds and all of his hair, that is when I really became filled with the conviction that there has to be a better way.”
She had the opportunity to intern at NASA, and while there she met one scientist who told her that outer space satellites make it possible to view whether a dime is face-up or face-down. And with that she asked, “If a satellite can tell whether a dime is face-up or face-down, then why can’t we treat cancer in a specific region of the body?”
After that she spent the next 11 years of her life researching in a lab on how to eradicate cancerous cells. One day a life changing experience happened, “she skipped a process she deemed unnecessary and instead, injected nanoparticles “intratumorally” and waited for the end result. When she returned to the lab the following day, the tumor had shrunk.”
She later founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation. She explains that, ““The purpose of the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation is to support the research that Auntee inspired in hopes that one day no one else will have to opt out of treatment to avoid the side effects of today’s cancer treatment.”
Green understands the importance of giving back to the community and so she speaks to youths, mentoring them. She says, ““It takes a village to raise a child. I repeat that because a village of people helped raise me and instill values in me and encouraged me to get to this point. I did not get here by myself. Because of that clarity, I know my responsibility to encourage and mentor the next generation.”