This Career Development Award will provide Dr. Aldrich with the didactic training and mentorship needed to further her career in genetics and bioinformatics as they relate to lung cancer in diverse populations. While Dr. Aldrich has had comprehensive training in epidemiologic methodology, statistical analysis, and scientific writing during her doctoral and post-doctoral experiences, she requires further training in her chosen research area, the genetic epidemiology of cancer. The proposed project focuses on genetic epidemiology of lung cancer risk in African Americans. This project will serve as a training opportunity so that Dr. Aldrich can expand her methodological focus and obtain the requisite training in genetics and bioinformatics to ultimately enhance the detection of genes associated with cancer in racially diverse populations. New knowledge and skills in lung cancer biology, health disparities, genetic epidemiology methods, and bioinformatics will be obtained in the training portion of the award through coursework, seminars, national meetings and mentorship. She will be mentored by leading experts in the fields of genetic epidemiology (Dr. Scott M. Williams), lung cancer biology (Dr. Pierre Massion), and cancer epidemiology (Dr. William J. Blot). Genetic factors influencing lung cancer susceptibility have not yet been thoroughly investigated, especially among African Americans, the population with the highest incidence of lung cancer. The research goal of this proposal is to use genetic ancestry to identify genetic variants and gene-environment interactions that contribute to lung cancer in African Americans. To identify factors contributing to lung cancer in African Americans, the research aims of this proposal are: 1) to perform admixture mapping;2) to discover rare variants in exonic regions;and 3) to identify interactions between local ancestry and environmental risk factors. An ongoing prospective cohort, the Southern Community Cohort Study, as well as the national African American Lung Cancer Consortium, will be utilized in the proposed research. Ultimately this research will assist with the identification of high-risk subjects for primary and secondary prevention of lung cancer. With the knowledge and experience provided by this career development award, Dr. Aldrich will be prepared to seek R01 funding necessary to establish a multidisciplinary research program in lung cancer epidemiology. The experience gained from this career development award will ensure Dr. Aldrich's successful transition into an independent investigator in cancer epidemiology with a focus on genetic and environmental determinants of cancer in racially diverse populations.

Public Health Relevance

African Americans have the greatest risk of lung cancer compared to all other racial/ethnic groups, yet have been historically underrepresented in research. This study seeks to identify genetic factors contributing to lung cancer in African Americans and ultimately reduce their disease occurrence. This investigation into the genetics and environmental risk factors related to lung cancer will both further the field of lung cancer and also provide a strong training opportunity for the candidate to have a successful career in the broader field of genetics and cancer. !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Perkins, Susan N
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Aldrich, Melinda C; Hidalgo, Bertha; Widome, Rachel et al. (2015) The role of epidemiology in evidence-based policy making: a case study of tobacco use in youth. Ann Epidemiol 25:360-5
Deppen, Stephen A; Davis, William T; Green, Elizabeth A et al. (2014) Cost-effectiveness of initial diagnostic strategies for pulmonary nodules presenting to thoracic surgeons. Ann Thorac Surg 98:1214-22
Deppen, Stephen A; Blume, Jeffrey D; Kensinger, Clark D et al. (2014) Accuracy of FDG-PET to diagnose lung cancer in areas with infectious lung disease: a meta-analysis. JAMA 312:1227-36
Deppen, Stephen A; Blume, Jeffrey D; Aldrich, Melinda C et al. (2014) Predicting lung cancer prior to surgical resection in patients with lung nodules. J Thorac Oncol 9:1477-84
Deppen, Stephen A; Grogan, Eric L; Aldrich, Melinda C et al. (2014) Lung cancer screening and smoking cessation: a teachable moment? J Natl Cancer Inst 106:dju122