SCHOLAR: Jennifer R. Klemp, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Oncology, Associate Director, Breast Cancer Prevention Center LEAD MENTOR: Carol J. Fabian, MD, Clinical Oncology, School of Medicine PROJECT TITLE: Breast Cancer Risk Biomarkers and Energy Balance in Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Survivors
SCHOLAR: Kelly A. Bosak, PhD, ARNP, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing LEAD MENTOR: Carol Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing. PROJECT TITLE: Feasibility of a Stimulus-Response Intervention for Physical Activity in Midlife Women
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a growing epidemic, increases markedly in women during perimenopause. A critical target for intervention is the lipid and non-lipid biomarkers of metabolic origin, including elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, visceral adiposity, elevated blood pressure, and increased fasting glucose. These biomarkers constitute the metabolic syndrome, as defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines and are indicators of increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women. Physical activity is recommended to reduce CVD risk associated with the metabolic syndrome. Despite the benefits, physical activity is a demanding behavior, and many perimenopausal women do not get enough physical acitivty.
Recent meta-analyses indicate that research is needed to improve adherence with physical activity. My proposed research will identify variables statistically related to physical activity behavior in perimenopausal women, and will subsequently test an intervention found acceptable to women in American Heart Association funded physical activity research. Mobile technology holds promise as a method of delivering a stimulus-response intervention in real-time to increase initiation and maintenance of physical activity. The long-term goal of this research plan is to promote self-management of the metabolic syndrome in perimenopausal women at risk for metabolic syndrome as a basis for subsequent clinical trial research, and ultimately, translation of effective interventions to clinical practice.
SCHOLAR: Holly Hull, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dietetics and Nutrition, School of Health Professionals LEAD MENTOR: Debra Sullivan, PhD, RD, Professor and Chair, Dietetics and Nutrition, School of Health Professionals PROJECT TITLE: Promoting Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy in Obese Women and Exploring the Changing Maternal Metabolic Profile during Pregnancy
ABSTRACT: Thirty percent of women enter pregnancy obese increasing the risk for poor short and long term health outcomes for both the mother and baby. Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) and retention of weight gained during pregnancy are related to the development of maternal obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Individual counseling improves GWG thereby improving maternal and infant health however individual counseling is not feasible on a large scale. Group based phone (GBP) interventions are novel, efficiently use the time and resources of the participants and educators and are effective for weight management. My training plan proposes two studies. The first will provide training in the development and implementation of nutrition and physical activity interventions and the second will train me in ways pregnancy impacts maternal health. The aim of the first study is to pilot test a GBP intervention versus standard obstetrical care on achieving recommended weight gain during pregnancy in obese women. The aims of the second study are to assess how cardiometabolic risk factors (insulin, glucose, lipids) change in obese versus normal weight women during pregnancy and to explore how diet and physical activity during pregnancy related to the changing maternal metabolic profile.
SCHOLAR: Harsh Pathak, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine LEAD MENTOR: Andrew Godwin, Professor and Director of Molecular Oncology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine PROJECT TITLE: Combination Therapy Using Targeted Nanoparticles in Preclinical Models of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer"
ABSTRACT: At the time of presentation, most ovarian cancers are no longer dependent on single genetic determinants for growth and/or survival. Targeted therapies used as single agents will not work in this disease. Therefore, I employed synthetic lethal siRNA high-throughput screening (HTS) to identify second-site targets that can be targeted in combination with a SRC-targeting agent, dasatinib (an EOC relevant targeted therapeutic recently evaluated in a Phase II clinical trial (GOG-170M)). HTS identified 38 dasatinib sensitizing genes. Correlation of gene expression for these genes to cell line drug sensitivity data reduced this hit list to five genes. In Aim1 of this proposal, a panel of EOC cell lines will be used to further refine the hit list of dasatinib sensitizers in order select the top two candidate genes. In Aim 2, I will optimize nanoparticle formulations that are capable of targeted delivery of siRNA-based therapeutics specifically to EOC cells in combination with dasatinib. In Aim 3, I will evaluate the combination therapy of dasatinib and siRNA-containing nanoliposomes developed in Aim 2 using preclinical mouse models of EOC. The ultimate goal is to propose a clinical trial using these combination therapies and improve upon the current treatment regimen for ovarian cancer.