CPFP alumna Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn and current Cancer Prevention Fellows Dr. Emily Rossi and Dr. Joe Shearer are 2020 recipients of the prestigious William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award. The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) established this competitive award to support innovative research that has the potential for high impact in any area of minority health and health disparities research. Each recipient, with their respective teams, will receive a $15,000 research award to study key determinants of health inequities and advance scientific knowledge within the field.
Through her project, “The breast milk microbiome and its relationship with breast cancer risk factors among black and white women,” Dr. Davis Lynn, an Independent Research Scholar in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics’ Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch, aims at extending upon previous breast milk and microbiome research to a larger population of black and white women, in order to comprehensively evaluate the associations between breast cancer risk factors and the breast milk microbiome. Additionally, risk factor and breast milk microbiome data will be integrated with other breast milk biomarkers, such as DNA methylation and cytokine levels, to examine their inter-relationships, and determine whether racial differences exist in these associations.
Dr. Emily Rossi, with NCI postdoctoral colleagues Drs. Rony Arauz Melendez and Sheryse Taylor, aim to compare lung tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissue of European American (EA) and African American (AA) patients to delineate immune cell subsets using methylation signatures. In their project, “Contribution of Genetic Ancestry to Differences in the Immune Landscape of Lung Cancer in European Americans and African Americans,” the team will also analyze tumor-infiltrating immune cell composition and neoantigen load, and how these immune factors differ by genetic ancestry. By characterizing these population-level immune-dependent differences, they hope to contribute to a more precise determination of biomarkers to inform precision medicine that adequately represents AAs.
Dr. Shearer’s project, “Evaluating the impact of concentrated animal feeding operations on Campylobacter jejuni infections in rural agricultural communities,” will utilize resources from an ongoing epidemiologic study of farming and non-farming Iowa residents with information on previous agricultural exposures (e.g., direct animal exposure) and available biospecimens, to evaluate whether residential proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations is associated with circulating C. jejuni antibody levels, among rural, agricultural residents. He also aims to examine the relationship between recent direct contact with animals and circulating C. jejuni antibody levels, in the same population.