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.

Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch

Allison J. Applebaum, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist and Psychosocial Oncology Researcher
Organization:
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

After a decade of working with caregivers of patients with all sites and stages of cancer across the entire caregiving trajectory, it became clear to me that caregivers have become the invisible backbone of our healthcare system. These clinical experiences, and my own caregiving journey, inspired my work to support caregivers, to help them engage in caregiving without personal detriment, and to assist them in enhancing and sustaining well-being, resilience, and growth in the face of suffering ”

Kimberly Canter, Ph.D.

Pediatric Psychologist and Psychosocial Researcher
Organization:
  • Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

My interest in serving this population began in college, when a lightbulb went off during an introductory psychology class. I had planned to pursue a career in medicine but was much more interested in the opportunity to help patients and families cope and manage stressors. My personal and professional experiences with cancer have fueled my passion to provide high-quality, accessible psychosocial care to families as they navigate what is likely one of the worst times of their lives. ”

Judith E. Carroll, Ph.D.

Biological and Health Psychologist
Organization:
  • University of California - Los Angeles

I was first motivated to work in biobehavioral research as an undergraduate student when I heard about research that demonstrated a significant impact of our thoughts and behaviors on our physical health and disease risk. I then realized I had an innate curiosity for understanding the basic biological mechanisms that connect the mind and body. ”


Julienne E. Bower, Ph.D.

Clinical and Health Psychologist
Organization:
  • University of California - Los Angeles

Understanding the relationship of biological aging with cognitive and physical health outcomes, and the role of modifiable behavioral factors, has implications for future interventions designed to mitigate morbidity associated with these biomarker risk profiles in breast cancer patients. ”

Joann G. Elmore, M.D., M.P.H.

Physician
Organization:
  • University of California - Los Angeles

Based on my personal experience as a patient, I decided to expand my research from radiology to pathology to turn the microscope back on ourselves (the physicians), and to see how we can improve diagnostic accuracy and patient outcomes. ”

Robert J. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Clinical Health Psychologist and Cancer Survivorship Researcher
Organization:
  • University of Pittsburgh

In early surveys of the cognitive rehabilitation outcomes literature, I recognized that focusing solely on enhancing memory performance as assessed by neurocognitive testing was incomplete; cognitive abilities - e.g., memory, attention, emotion regulation - exist to perform valued activities in daily life. Using effective behavior change methods to enhance performance in daily activity was key to quality of life and functional improvement, regardless of the cognitive change one experiences after cancer. ”

Matthew C. Hocking, Ph.D.

Pediatric Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist
Organization:
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

As a graduate student, I worked in a multidisciplinary clinic where I conducted psychological consultations for survivors of childhood cancer. The experience of meeting these youth who had been cured of their cancer but were experiencing significant health problems and developmental issues had a substantial impact on me. I became particularly fascinated by the effects of cancer treatments on the developing brain and the different problems that occur as a result. ”

Jennifer W. Mack, M.D., M.P.H.

Outcomes Researcher
Organization:
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The most profound influence on my work was my mentor, Dr Jane Weeks, who taught me that doing research, and working with the smartest, most interesting, most fun people, can be one of the great joys of life. ”

Jeanne S. Mandelblatt, M.D., M.P.H.

Geriatrician
Organization:
  • Georgetown University

I began my career as a family doctor working in neighborhood health centers in underserved communities. The turning point in my career from clinician to clinician researcher occurred on a job interview in an internal medicine department at a teaching hospital caring for a large population of older individuals. ”

Brenna C. McDonald, Psy.D., M.B.A., A.B.P.P.

Clinical Researcher
Organization:
  • Indiana University School of Medicine

I was first directly exposed to fMRI maps when interviewing for fellowships over 20 years ago. Actually seeing activation of the motor strip exactly where it "should" be in the brain gave me my first real glimpse of the potential power of the technology for exploring brain-behavior relationships and understanding cognitive dysfunction, which has been the focus of my research for the past two decades. ”

Kimberly A. Miller, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Behavioral Scientist
Organization:
  • University of Southern California

Young adulthood is often an incredibly challenging time. Adding a cancer diagnosis can make this life stage exponentially more difficult. Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors require tailored, age-appropriate supportive care services to maintain high physical, mental and social quality of life. My hope is to identify the clinical and lifestyle interventions that AYA cancer survivors want to ensure healthy survivorship for this distinct group. ”

Frank J. Penedo, Ph.D.

Clinical Health Psychologist
Organization:
  • University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

The most profound a-ha moment early in my career was that stress and other psychosocial factors can truly get "under the skin" and impact critical clinical markers in HIV, cancer, CVD, and other conditions. ”


Michael H. Antoni, Ph.D.

Clinical Health Psychologist
Organization:
  • University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

My first experience "connecting the dots" from experimentally inducing stress reduction to biobehavioral changes to long-term clinically meaningful physical health outcomes was when I observed that women with breast cancer who completed a group-based cognitive behavioral stress management program not only reported decreased anxiety, negative affect, and improved quality of life, but also had physiologic changes during primary treatment, which predicted lower odds of disease recurrence over the next 10+ years. ”

Hermine Poghosyan, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Cancer Epidemiology and Survivorship Researcher
Organization:
  • Yale University

Tobacco use, which is the leading cause of preventable premature death worldwide, affects too many cancer survivors, their families, and friends. My goal is to find ways to better promote smoking cessation among individuals who have received a cancer diagnosis and their social network members, including families, friends, and others. ”

Timothy R. Rebbeck, Ph.D.

Molecular Epidemiologist
Organization:
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The explosion of genetic information into the lives of patients and populations requires that we find tools that will translate genomics to better patient experiences in decision-making, treatment, quality of life, and outcomes. To achieve this goal, we must nucleate interdisciplinary teams that include geneticists, population scientists, behavioral scientists, oncologists, and others to develop and implement comprehensive and impactful patient tools. ”