Featured Grantees

The researchers highlighted below have been awarded at least one Behavioral Research Program-funded NIH grant. Read on to learn about their experiences as grantees.

Note: The views expressed here are those of the grantees only and do not represent any official position of the National Cancer Institute.

Health Behaviors Research Branch

Marc A. Adams, PhD, MPH

Behavioral Scientist and Epidemiologist
  • Arizona State University - Tempe

Early in my career I discovered the world outside of the skin was just as complex and interesting as the one inside of the skin. That moment led me down a path of discovery of the principles of behavior change in our macro- and micro-environments and how these mechanisms influence preventive behaviors for chronic disease, such as physical activity. ”

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD

Nutrition Scientist
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

I am motivated daily by the participants in our studies who continually teach me new things and who provide inspiration. ”

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Stacey Kenfield, ScD

Cancer Epidemiology Researcher
  • University of California - San Francisco

A cancer diagnosis is a teachable moment when individuals are motivated to change behavior to reduce risk of adverse health outcomes. This has led me to focus my research on elucidating the role of lifestyle factors in relation to patient-reported outcomes (e.g., quality of life, treatment side effects) and clinical outcomes (e.g., recurrence, mortality) in adults with cancer to improve quality of life, cancer prognosis, and overall health. ”

Amber L. Pearson

Health Geographer
  • Michigan State University

I first became interested in how neighborhood green spaces may improve health through my work in New Zealand, where green spaces tend to be high quality and accessible. Now I live in Michigan, where Detroit is recovering from decades of disinvestment in its parks. While improvements have been made, neighborhoods remain where the city's parks renaissance has not reached. This study allows us to test how restoring parks to be vibrant green spaces may contribute to health in underserved communities. ”

Dorothy W. Pekmezi, PhD

Behavioral Scientist/Researcher
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

The most profound influences on my research program have come from clinical encounters and qualitative research, in which patients/participants are often eager to eat healthier and exercise more but describe real barriers to accessing related programs/resources (costs, transportation, etc.) and desire encouragement and accountability. ”

Lisa M. Quintiliani, PhD

Behavioral Scientist/Researcher
  • Boston Medical Center

My "ah-ha" moment came as a first year PhD student, when my mentor Dr. Marci Campbell invited me to eastern North Carolina to attend my first community-based research meeting. That was my first time seeing community-based research in action; lessons I have been applying to my research ever since. ”

Andrew D. Ray, PT, PhD

Physical Therapist and Exercise Physiology Scientist/Researcher
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corp

I always knew there was something special about my work, but it wasn't until I presented my findings to a neighboring University I realized how strong my pilot data really was. ”

Jessica Scott, PhD

Exercise Scientist
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Through interdisciplinary collaborations, I learned the research I was conducting at NASA to monitor and prevent toxicities in astronauts was very applicable to cancer patients. This motivated me to explore whether the tools and techniques used by NASA to offset spaceflight-related toxicity could be applied to improve long-term health and quality of life in cancer patients impacted by therapy-related toxicities. ”

Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD

Public Health Scientist/Researcher
  • University of California - San Francisco

Cancer survivors' experiences and perspectives have a profound influence on my program of research. ”

Yelena P. Wu, PhD

Behavioral Scientist/Pediatric Psychologist
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute - University of Utah

Childhood ultraviolet radiation exposure and sunburns are key modifiable risk factors for development of skin cancers, such as melanoma, later in life. However, there are few skin cancer prevention programs targeting adolescents, including in schools, that focus on teen intentional tanning and sun protection behaviors. ”