This application - Melanoma Prevention: Using the Sun - is intended to forward and develop Dr. Berwick's career goals. These are three-fold. (1) Ongoing goal: To conduct studies that will lead to understanding and eliminating morbidity and mortality from melanoma. After obtaining training in immunology, exposure assessment, and epidemiology at Yale University, Dr. Berwick began a systematic research agenda concentrating on the spectrum of cancer prevention for an eminently preventable disease - melanoma. Current studies focus on gene-environment interaction and factors important for survival with melanoma. (2) As a Result of K05 Support: To develop young pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty into productive scientists. Dr. Berwick's research projects provide an excellent platform for new research by junior investigators. Examples of novel initiatives include exploration of interaction effects of sunlight and Vitamin D with the vitamin D receptor and its pathway, immunological factors and hormonal influences on both etiology and survival with melanoma. Her long history of successful mentoring clearly demonstrates Dr. Berwick's leadership skills in fostering the academic development of a new generation of cancer prevention scientists trained to investigate genetics and exposure in relationship to cancer risk. This award would provide time to support the expansion of this mentoring role by freeing up a portion of Dr. Berwick's administrative responsibilities. Dr. Berwick is ideally positioned to assume a senior mentoring role at this time since at the time of this award, all but her primary research supporting this proposal will have been completed or handed over to junior investigators, leaving 40% new time and effort available for new research and mentoring. (3) As a Result of K05 Support: Contribution to the continued growth and refinement of Dr. Berwick's Research Skills and Directions: To impact cancer health disparities in New Mexico by understanding their etiology and developing appropriate and regional-specific interventions. New initiatives to develop population-based case-control studies in New Mexico will provide important understandings of the novel disparities and patterns of cancer incidence, survival and mortality that are present among the state's major ethnic populations: Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans. Dr. Berwick's wide experience in population-based investigations and molecular epidemiology will facilitate these new studies. These goals will be realized through a strong mentoring program developed by Dr. Marianne Berwick, by improving the mentoring and training infrastructure through leveraging existing doctoral and post-doctoral programs and developing new doctoral and post-doctoral positions, and by more thoroughly examining extant and new data in melanoma etiology, progression and etiology which are collected through extramural funding. These goals have been developed through Dr. Berwick's 24 years of mentoring young faculty and investigating the role of solar exposure in the development and progression of cutaneous malignant melanoma. Dr. Berwick's goals - to understand and eliminate morbidity and mortality from melanoma - reflect national cancer priorities to eliminate suffering and death from cancer by 2015. NCI "will conduct and support basic, clinical and population research to gain a more complete understanding of the genetic, epigenetic, environmental, behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of cancer and the biological mechanisms underlying cancer resistance, susceptibility, initiation, regression, progression and recurrence. The NCI clearly states that prevention must be based on knowledge developed by integrative population science teams working in the population and in the laboratory.

Public Health Relevance

The objectives of this K05 Application are: (1) To develop young pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty into productive scientists, (2) To contribute to the continued growth and refinement of Dr. Berwick's research skills and directions: To impact cancer health disparities in New Mexico by understanding their etiology and developing appropriate and population-specific interventions, and (3) To conduct studies that will lead to understanding and eliminating morbidity and mortality from melanoma. The results should lead to more faculty trained in cancer prevention, particularly minority faculty, and more evidence-based recommendations for better cancer prevention, particularly for the rapidly increasing tumor, cutaneous melanoma, and enable better survival prediction for melanoma patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Scientist Award (K05)
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Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Vuong, Kylie; McGeechan, Kevin; Armstrong, Bruce K et al. (2014) Occupational sun exposure and risk of melanoma according to anatomical site. Int J Cancer 134:2735-41
Berwick, Marianne (2014) Predicted for greatness: 1994 molecule of the year--the DNA repair enzyme. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 7:375-7
Berwick, Marianne; Reiner, Anne S; Paine, Susan et al. (2014) Sun exposure and melanoma survival: a GEM study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 23:2145-52
Berwick, Marianne; MacArthur, Jamie; Orlow, Irene et al. (2014) MITF E318K's effect on melanoma risk independent of, but modified by, other risk factors. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 27:485-8
Chang, Caroline; Murzaku, Era Caterina; Penn, Lauren et al. (2014) More skin, more sun, more tan, more melanoma. Am J Public Health 104:e92-9
Torres, Salina M; Luo, Li; Lilyquist, Jenna et al. (2013) DNA repair variants, indoor tanning, and risk of melanoma. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 26:677-84
Flores, Kristina G; Erdei, Esther; Luo, Li et al. (2013) A pilot study of genetic variants in dopamine regulators with indoor tanning and melanoma. Exp Dermatol 22:576-81
Kricker, Anne; Armstrong, Bruce K; Goumas, Chris et al. (2013) Survival for patients with single and multiple primary melanomas: the genes, environment, and melanoma study. JAMA Dermatol 149:921-7
Berwick, Marianne; Erdei, Eszter O (2013) Vitamin D and melanoma incidence and mortality. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 26:9-15