National Cancer Institute

Selected Behavioral Research Investigators

Health Communication and Informatics (HCIRB)

  • Shari Barkin , Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Physician scientist focusing on child behavioral health research

    "My "ah-ha" moment was recognizing that knowledge is necessary but not sufficient to change behavior. Behavior change requires setting new defaults that make achieving good health simpler."
  • Paul Duberstein , University of Rochester Medical Center
    Clinical and community psychologist

    "After receiving NCI funding for a caregiver study, I was unexpectedly thrust briefly into a caregiver role. My personal experiences taught me that I knew less than I thought about caregiving. It motivated me to work harder to incorporate first-hand experiences into my research by using qualitative methods and by adding patients and caregivers to my research teams. "
  • 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."
  • 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."

    View Grant Applications

Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences (BBPSB)

  • Carolyn Fang , Fox Chase Cancer Center
    Behavioral Scientist

    "I appreciate the opportunity to work with investigators from diverse disciplines, as well as with community members and patient advocates, because they inspire me to learn new concepts and broaden my thinking in novel ways, as we all work toward a common and united goal to reduce the burden of cancer."
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett , Northeastern University
    University Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory

    "The mind is an elegantly orchestrated self-fulfilling prophecy, embodied within the architecture of the nervous system."
  • Michael Irwin , University of California - Los Angeles
    Psychiatric Clinical Translational Scientist

    "The Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA has discovered that sleep and health are intimately inter-connected: insomnia induces adverse trajectories diseases risk, activates inflammatory biology, and accelerates cellular aging. In turn, interventional strategies from behavioral to mind-body treatments effectively target sleep problems and reverse the course of biological mechanisms of disease risk, aging, and possibly cancer, which together optimize healthspan."
  • Janice Kiecolt-Glaser , Ohio State University
    Behavioral Scientist

    "Stress impacts many aspects of our physiology. Close and supportive personal relationships can buffer the effects of stress and can be an important resource during difficult times in our lives."
  • 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

    "Understanding the pattern of chromatin organization associated with psychosocial distress may provide a means by which to identify those at risk for immune dysfunction."
  • Anil Sood , MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Physician Scientist

    "For me the opportunity to collaborate with renowned colleagues has provided many exciting research moments."

Health Behaviors (HBRB)

  • Barbara Brown , University of Utah
    Environmental psychologist

    "I love finding community interventions that support both personal health and environmental health in a "stealthy" way-without requiring that people be committed to healthy behaviors or to environmentalism."
  • 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."

    View Grant Applications

  • Jacqueline Kerr , University of California - San Diego
    Exposome scientist. I focus on behaviors and the built environment that we are exposed to in our daily lives

    "My ah-ha moment came when I realized all the errors in our data processing that I focused on obsessively were only creating a couple of minutes of error a day at the person level. I realized I needed to get out of this rabbit hole and look around at the majority of successful predictions we were creating. I have now accepted that perfection in such behavioral & environmental matches are not possible, and I focus on the larger probabilities that time and space may influence behavior."