2/2 Southeast Partnership for Improving Research & Training in Cancer Health Disparities

  • Gregory, Paula (PI)
  • Miele, Lucio (CoPI)
  • Miele, Lucio (PI)
  • Zabaleta, Jovanny (PI)
  • Miele, Lucio (CoPI)
  • Miele, Lucio (PI)

Project Details


The Southeast Partnership for Improving Research & Training in Cancer Health Disparities (SPIRIT- CHD) unites the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC), an institution serving underserved populations and underrepresented students (ISUPS), and the NCI-designated Moffitt Cancer Center (MCC) to advance translational research on the biological mechanisms of cancer health disparities focusing on biospecimen-based research and precision medicine. It also seeks to establish a joint cancer research education program focused on biobanking and precision medicine education. LSUHSC serves a region characterized by an underserved African-American population, and rampant cancer health disparities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This region has several growing racial/ethnic minority populations. After Hurricane Katrina, the Hispanic population in Louisiana doubled and is now the fastest growing ethnic minority. MCC is located in Tampa, Florida and serves an increasingly wide catchment area characterized by a population diverse in regard to age, race/ethnicity, language and literacy, and is home to an increasing Latino population. Precision medicine research requires: a well-managed, ethnically and racially diverse biospecimen repository; state of the art technology in genomics, epigenomics and ancestry analysis; availability of language, cultural and literacy specific educational tools and resources; and a research education infrastructure that promotes a pipeline of trainees in cancer disparities research. MCC is a national leader and pioneer in these areas, has highly integrated research programs, and seeks to expand the diversity of their biospecimen research endeavors. This partnership is based on two Specific Aims. Specific Aim 1: Plan and execute two collaborative pilot research projects. The first pilot research project focuses on breast cancer genomics, studying biospecimens from Hispanic/Latina patients of mixed genetic ancestry (African, Native American, European) by RNA sequencing (RNASeq) and methylation analysis, to study correlations between molecular subtypes, gene expression profiles, clinical outcomes and ancestry. This project will support the career development of racial/ethnic minority early-stage investigators at LSUHSC and MCC. Specific Aim 2: Plan a collaborative three-pronged cancer research education program that includes: 1) a hands-on summer research experience for undergraduate and medical students; 2) delivery of a curriculum to those students focusing on biobanking, precision medicine and cancer health disparities; and 3) expansion of outreach education to our respective communities about biobanking, precision medicine and cancer health disparities. The combination of these collaborative partnership activities is expected to offer mutual benefit to each institution to impact cancer health disparities, inspire the next generation of researchers, and rapidly lead to the submission of competitive grant applications. Importantly, our main collaborative goal is to bring the benefits of cancer research advancements to underserved communities.
Effective start/end date21/09/1731/08/21


  • National Cancer Institute


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