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

Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D.

  • Tel Aviv University

During the last two decades I have focused on the effects of perioperative stress and inflammatory responses, induced by having cancer and by undergoing surgery for its removal, on cancer progression.”

Elliot Berkman, Ph.D.

Translational Neuroscientist and Social Psychologist
  • University of Oregon

Behavior change can be hard because we lack the skills or knowledge to do so, but more often the problem is motivational. Science needs to discover ways to help people who want to want to change but, for whatever reason, struggle to will themselves to change.”

Carolyn Fang, Ph.D., M.A.

Behavioral Scientist
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center

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, Ph.D.

Psychologist and Interdisciplinary Affective Scientist
  • Northeastern University

The mind is an elegantly orchestrated self-fulfilling prophecy, embodied within the architecture of the nervous system.”

Jada Hamilton, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Behavioral Scientist
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

With my research, I hope to ultimately identify strategies that facilitate people's understanding and adaptive responses to genetic and genomic risk information, thereby helping people use this information to make effective decisions and successful behavioral changes that promote their well-being and reduce their vulnerability to cancer.”

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
  • Medical University of South Carolina

I dedicated my career to addressing cancer health disparities through a transdisciplinary research program in minority health. The inequality that still exists in cancer outcomes continues to reinforce my dedication.”

Michael Irwin, M.D.

Psychiatric Clinical Translational Scientist
  • University of California - Los Angeles

The Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA has discovered that sleep and health are intimately inter-connected: insomnia induces adverse trajectories of disease 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.”

Peter James, Sc.D.

Environmental Epidemiologist
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc.

I grew up in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s, and I witnessed the city undergo massive change, both in the physical makeup of the city and in the city's demographics. This sparked my interest in understanding how the places in which we live are shaped by us, but also how they shape us.”

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
  • Ohio State University

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.”

Caryn Lerman, Ph.D.

  • University of Southern California

I am passionate about transdisciplinary research to enhance our understanding about how the brain supports or constrains changes in habitual behaviors that contribute to cancer risk.”

Susan Lutgendorf, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
  • University of Iowa

The resilience of the human spirit is remarkable-we are now studying how we can help patients cope more effectively in the face of ovarian cancer.”

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

  • 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.”

Herbert Mathews, Ph.D.

Cellular and Molecular Scientist
  • Loyola University Chicago

Understanding the pattern of chromatin organization associated with psychosocial distress may provide a means by which to identify those at risk for immune dysfunction.”

Timothy Rebbeck, Ph.D.

Molecular Epidemiologist
  • 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.”

Michael Sayette, Ph.D.

Behavioral Scientist
  • University of Pittsburgh

Although quitting smoking is the most important action a smoker can take to prevent cancer, cessation has proven difficult. Observed relations between craving and relapse suggest that novel approaches to craving relief are sorely needed.”

David Spiegel, M.D.

Research Psychiatrist
  • Stanford University - School of Medicine

In every rotation I did in medical school I was fascinated by how people coped with their illnesses, and challenged by how we could help them to do it better. But I wanted the interventions we developed to be based on evidence as well as theory.”