The goal of this career development plan is to launch an independent research program in molecular epidemiology with specific emphasis on the evaluation of gene-environment interactions. To this end, it includes both didactic coursework and hands-on training in the areas of molecular biology/ genetics and molecular epidemiology. Melanoma is a unique model for studying gene-environment interactions as there is mounting evidence that low-penetrance genetic polymorphisms may moderate the melanoma risk of solar UV exposure. Genes of the base excision repair (BER) pathway repair DNA damage secondary to UVA exposure. The candidate will use the international Genes, Environment and Melanoma (GEM) 3366-subject case-control study as a platform to test the hypothesis that UV radiation and BER variants interactively affect melanoma risk. Lifetime sun exposure history and DNA specimens are available for each subject. The candidate's research will (a) determine the prevalence of BER variants in GEM melanoma cases and controls; (b) evaluate the interactive influence of candidate BER variants and chronic sun exposure on melanoma risk; and (c) investigate whether melanoma risk is influenced by gene-gene interactions between BER variants and variants in other genes currently being examined in the GEM study (MC1R and nucleotide excision repair genes) adjusting for sun exposure. This research proposal will provide the candidate with an appreciation for and understanding of the laboratory and epidemiologic analyses techniques needed to conduct molecular epidemiologic research on environmentally related diseases. Through intensive interactions with the GEM consortium and other multidisciplinary investigators, formal coursework in molecular biology and epidemiology, and research, this career development award will establish the candidate's multidisciplinary research skills at the interface of genetics, epidemiology and environmental health, and position her to establish novel theories regarding the mechanisms underlying complex genetic-environmental interactions in melanoma.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LKB-A (K5))
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Shreffler, Carol K
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University of New Mexico
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Gonzales, Melissa; King, Elanda; Bobelu, Jeanette et al. (2018) Perspectives on Biological Monitoring in Environmental Health Research: A Focus Group Study in a Native American Community. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15:
Gonzales, Melissa; Qeadan, Fares; Mishra, Shiraz I et al. (2017) Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Late-Stage Colorectal Cancer Among Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Whites of New Mexico. Hisp Health Care Int 15:180-188
Gonzales, Melissa; Nelson, Harold; Rhyne, Robert L et al. (2012) Surveillance of colorectal cancer screening in new Mexico hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. J Community Health 37:1279-88
Gonzales, Melissa; Myers, Orrin; Smith, Luther et al. (2012) Evaluation of land use regression models for NO2 in El Paso, Texas, USA. Sci Total Environ 432:135-42
Svendsen, Erik R; Gonzales, Melissa; Ross, Mary et al. (2009) Variability in childhood allergy and asthma across ethnicity, language, and residency duration in El Paso, Texas: a cross-sectional study. Environ Health 8:55
Lauer, Fredine T; Mitchell, Leah A; Bedrick, Edward et al. (2009) Temporal-spatial analysis of U.S.-Mexico border environmental fine and coarse PM air sample extract activity in human bronchial epithelial cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 238:1-10