A Coleman award application review committee was convened with members from NIMHD Extramural, DIR, and other ICs. Five applicants were selected for FY18 funding out of 26 applicants. A description of the recipients and their research projects follows. Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S., Cancer Prevention Fellow, National Cancer Institute Project Title: Evaluating the Associations of Symptom Appraisal and Barriers to Care with Endometrial Cancer Presentation and Outcomes in a Diverse Population. African American women are nearly twice as likely as White women to die from endometrial cancer. Greater delays in symptom recognition and diagnostic evaluation among African American women, compared with White women, may play an important role. To improve strategies for early detection of endometrial cancer and reduce racial disparities, researchers want to understand how symptom appraisal, healthcare access, and minority and underserved womens preferences affect endometrial cancer outcomes and survival, while accounting for biological and tumor characteristics. Researchers will evaluate vaginal tampon sampling as a strategy for early endometrial cancer detection in 900 African American and White women who undergo hysterectomy at the University of Alabama for endometrial cancer or benign uterine conditions. The study will evaluate the influence of factors related to symptom appraisal, healthcare access, tumor characteristics, outcomes, and survival. To determine whether self-sampling with tampons might overcome barriers to early detection of endometrial cancers in minority and underserved populations, researchers will evaluate associations between tampon sampling acceptability and factors related to assessing symptoms and to healthcare access and preferences. Claire L. Meaney, Ph.D., M.P.H., Cancer Prevention Fellow, National Cancer Institute. Project Title: Inflammation-Based Markers of Lung Cancer Risk and Survival in African Americans. African Americans have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. Because they develop the disease at earlier ages and their smoking profiles differ from those of other groups, fewer African Americans meet screening eligibility criteria. In response, researchers aim to understand the causes of lung cancer in African Americans and to define their clinically relevant circulating inflammation signatures. Findings from the researchers previous case-control study highlight a distinct inflammation profile associated with lung cancer in African Americans, compared with European Americans. Researchers will validate this observation in a prospective cohort of samples from the National Cancer Institutes Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Validation of the inflammation profile may provide insight into the etiology of lung cancer in African Americans, further researchers understanding of lung cancers causes, and show whether inflammation profile proteins are useful as biomarkers of lung cancer risk in African Americans, which could aid early diagnosis or determination of lung cancer risk. Natalie Mora, M.D., M.P.H., Endocrinology Fellow, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Project Title: Exploring the Relationship Between Insulin Resistance and Lipoprotein Subclass Profile in a Diverse Population of Hispanics. While early studies of CVD risk factor prevalence in Hispanics involved mostly Mexican Americans, later research that also involved Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans showed considerably more varied risk factors. Type 2 diabetes patients often have unhealthy levels of blood lipids, including high levels of triglycerides, combined with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Lipoprotein abnormalities in diabetes typically include large concentrations of small dense LDL (low-density lipoprotein) particles, small HDL particles, and large very low LDL particles. Higher numbers of small dense LDL particles, as well as small HDL particles, have been associated with fatty masses in artery walls. In addition, elevated triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, which have varying size, density, and composition, are associated with cardiovascular risk and are commonly seen with insulin resistance (IR). Previous studies have shown a strong correlation between IR and lipoprotein particle size and quantity. This study will investigate the relationship between insulin resistance and lipoprotein particles in major Hispanic groups. That knowledge may explain Hispanic groups different CVD risks and lead to more ethnic-specific recommendations for treating type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and unhealthy levels of blood lipids. Nancy Chiles Shaffer, Ph.D. Co-Principal Investigator, Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute on Aging and Michelle Shardell, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute on Aging. Project Title: Addressing Disparities in Optimal Vitamin D Levels for Functional Outcomes in Older Adults. This study addresses health disparities in the effects of serum vitamin D levels on older adults ability to perform everyday tasks. The study will pool multiple racially diverse cohort studies of older men and women to identify and validate sex- and race-specific threshold 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations that predict incident decline in physical function. These thresholds can help identify older adults who may benefit from vitamin D supplementation and inform inclusion criteria of future vitamin D trials comprising racially diverse older men and women. This study will also create linkages across a number of large data sets that will facilitate future health disparities studies. Given that older African American adults experience a higher incidence of functional decline than their White counterparts do, determining sex- and race-specific vitamin D targets for everyday functioning could potentially improve clinical outcomes for older adults. Salman M. Tajuddin, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, National Institute on Aging. Project Title: The Impact of Plasma Metabolites on Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Accelerated Aging in African Americans. Compared to Whites, African Africans have a higher risk of death from age-related chronic diseases, shorter life expectancy, and develop aging-related diseases earlier in life, suggesting that they are predisposed to accelerated biological aging. Development of the epigenetic clock, a reliable indicator of biological age acceleration, based on genome-wide DNA methylation levels provides an opportunity to unravel the molecular drivers of accelerated aging disparities. Understanding metabolites role in genome-wide DNA methylation and accelerated epigenetic age may provide important insights into the biological bases of age-related health disparities. However, a lack of blood plasma metabolite studies in African Americans and other U.S. minority populations hampers further study of metabolites effect on DNA methylation and the rate of biological aging. The researchers will investigate how plasma metabolites influence the epigenetic clock and changes in genome-wide DNA methylation levels over time in groups of African American and White participants who live above and below poverty. The researchers will measure 180 metabolites in fasting plasma samples from participants from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span study. Analysis of measurement data will identify metabolites and metabolic signatures that drive both longitudinal DNA methylation changes and epigenetic age acceleration. Results could advance understanding of the biological bases of health disparities in age-related diseases and lead to biomarkers that identify at-risk individuals.

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