National Cancer Institute

Selected Behavioral Research Investigators

Health Communication and Informatics (HCIRB)

  • Ronald Epstein , University of Rochester
    Clinician, Educator and Communication Researcher

    "Through caring for patients with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic, I learned about the importance of communication, mindful presence and fearless compassion in the care of those facing an uncertain future."
  • Judith Gordon , University of Arizona - College of Medicine - Tucson
    Behavioral Researcher and Scientist

    "Human beings are not only complex individuals, but live in even more complex environments. Behavior change requires individual- and systems-level interventions. Technology can enhance these interventions and can be used to engage individuals, promote communication, and facilitate change on many levels."
  • Mira Katz , Ohio State University
    Behavioral Scientist

    "My enthusiasm for focusing my research on reducing cancer disparities is based on my numerous observations that individuals are often treated differently based on their characteristics."
  • Annice Kim , RTI International (formerly Research Triangle Institute)
    Social Scientist

    "The allure of big data has to be tempered by a healthy dose of skepticism about who and what these data represent."
  • Amy McQueen , Washington University in St. Louis
    Social Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "I am passionate about designing and testing more effective interventions for those who struggle to make health behavior changes and to make health a priority."
  • Lisa Miller , University of California - Davis
    Cognitive Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "The most compelling thing I've observed is that prior knowledge engages adults of all ages in learning and eases the burden of acquiring new knowledge and skills, which has huge implications for how we promote the adoption of new, often effortful, health behaviors."
  • Suzanne Miller , Fox Chase Cancer Center
    Clinical Health Behavioral Scientist and Researcher

    "I have an abiding commitment to promoting coping and adjustment during the transition from patient to survivor in early stage cancer, stemming from my clinical observations that this period not only represents a triumph -- but also a long-term challenge with unmet needs -- for patients and their care providers."
  • Andrew Perrin , University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
    Cultural Sociologist

    "I think cultural sociology has unique insights to offer in understanding how people develop beliefs about, and approaches to, their health. Working across disciplinary boundaries to discover these effects is very productive and exciting."
  • Dan Romer , University of Pennsylvania
    Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "I discovered that efficacy for quitting a habit like smoking is a double-edged sword. It helps people to try to quit, but it also creates complacency by allowing smokers to think they can always do it (later)."
  • Anthony Viera , University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
    Family Physician, Public Health Advocate, and Researcher

    "Several years ago, in an MD-MPH class on prevention strategies, I explained to my students that I didn't think calorie labeling worked. I said to the class (somewhat jokingly at the time!), "They should show how far you have to walk to burn off the calories...""

Tobacco Control (TCRB)

  • Irina Stepanov , University of Minnesota
    Analytical Biochemist and Cancer Researcher

    "I have been very fortunate to be mentored by and collaborate with the prominent leaders in tobacco carcinogenesis research. Their example and guidance, along with my personal motivation to contribute to the prevention of suffering caused by cancer, shaped my research interests and direction."

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Process of Care (PCRB)

  • David Miller , Wake Forest School of Medicine
    Primary Care Physician and Health Services Researcher

    "As a primary care physician and health services researcher, I am excited about the potential for new mobile technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care that we deliver."

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  • Katherine Sterba , Medical University of South Carolina
    Behavioral Scientist

    "During my training, I had the opportunity to observe interactions in couples who were coping with the struggles of chronic illness. I saw first-hand the power of teamwork as partners worked together to overcome illness-related challenges. This inspired my dedication to the development and testing of dyadic interventions for our growing population of cancer survivors and their families to help them work together to face physical, emotional and social post-treatment concerns."

Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences (BBPSB)

  • Erin Costanzo , University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Health Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "My personal experience as a cancer survivor and my clinical work with cancer patients has not only stimulated my research hypotheses and passions, but also highlighted the importance of translational work."
  • Carolyn Fang , Fox Chase Cancer Center
    Behavioral Scientist

    "Growing up, my family's cultural beliefs about the mind and the body shaped how I thought about health and illness. I have always been fascinated by questions concerning the complex interrelations that exist among psychosocial, behavioral, and biological systems."
  • Mariana Figueiro , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Lighting Scientist

    "Light isn't just for vision. Light touches every aspect of our lives and can have a profound impact on our health and well-being. My research tool is a gift that Nature gives us daily: the sunrise and the sunset."
  • Patricia Ganz , University of California - Los Angeles

    "I think our recent work finding biological support for the subjective complaints that cancer survivors experience has been most important in persuading skeptics who doubt the validity of patient-reported psychological and behavioral complaints."
  • Michael Irwin , University of California - Los Angeles
    Psychiatric Clinical Translational Scientist

    "I discovered that sleep disturbance induced inflammation, and such inflammation can cause depressive symptoms, which together provide a compelling rationale for targeting sleep disturbance and/or inflammation to prevent depression."
  • Janice Kiecolt-Glaser , Ohio State University
    Behavioral Scientist

    "Stress is a fascinating variable. In our very first study, we found that the relatively mild stress of academic exams could dysregulate aspects of medical students' immune response – and lonelier students were more vulnerable to that stress."
  • Anita Kinney , University of Utah
    Behavioral Epidemiologist

    "Meeting with key stakeholders in rural Louisiana prior to implementing a BRCA1 testing study, I saw firsthand that translation of genetic discoveries into effective clinical interventions would be optimized if behavioral and social implications, along with cultural issues, were considered early in the process of scientific discovery."
  • Mark Laudenslager , University of Colorado - Denver
    Psychoneuroimmunology and Endocrinology Researcher

    "My motivation and the scientific impetus toward development of interventions for caregivers came from my personal experience of caring for my mother as her primary caregiver during the last 5 years of her life."
  • Susan Lutgendorf , University of Iowa
    Behavioral Scientist

    "Two important discoveries with colleagues have helped shape my career: The realization that we could directly test relationships between biobehavioral factors and tumor growth factors; and the recognition that a recent HIV experiment utilized the in vitro model we were searching for in our cancer cell work."
  • Herbert Mathews , Loyola University Chicago
    Cellular and Molecular Scientist

    "An understanding of psychological, neuroendocrine, and immunological variables is essential to improvements in the overall health and quality of life of cancer patients."
  • Bonnie McGregor , Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "The coolest thing about the project for me was the emotional support I received as a result of this campaign. I have been humbled by the amazing generosity of my family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, and strangers."
  • Paula Pietromonaco , University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Social Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist

    "My graduate mentors, Robert Zajonc and Hazel Markus, taught me how to effectively bridge traditional disciplinary boundaries to arrive at elegant solutions to psychological puzzles."
  • Judy Rees , Dartmouth College
    Physician Epidemiologist

    "The randomized controlled trial is often viewed as the gold standard of clinical research. It's certainly the best we've got, but I think it's important to understand the extent of its potential flaws."

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  • Susan Schultz , University of Iowa
    Clinician and Clinical Researcher

    "As we have an increasingly complex older population, we have to find ways to maintain cognitive health in the same way we work to maintain physical health."
  • Anil Sood , MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Physician Scientist

    "For me the opportunity to collaborate with renowned colleagues have provided many exciting research moments."
  • Mark Wallace , Vanderbilt University

    "I am interested in how the brain creates our perceptual and cognitive worlds, how perception and cognition change across lifespan, and the impact of disease."

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Health Behaviors (HBRB)

  • Wendy Demark-Wahnefried , University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Translational Researcher and Nutrition Scientist

    "There are so many opportunities to discover new ways to prevent and control cancer and "ah-ha" moments are daily occurrences that spring from working in the laboratory, the clinic and the community. Being open and preparing oneself to actively receive or generate those ideas is the first step; however, finding the time, energy and most of all the resources to pursue a fraction of those ideas is the key and one that requires dogged determination."

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