Professor Melinda Irwin's research involves examining the effect of exercise and weight loss on cancer prognosis. She is currently the principal investigator on a randomized clinical trial among women with breast cancer designed to investigate the effect of exercise on breast cancer prognosis and a trial of the effects of exercise on survival and survivorship in women with ovarian cancer.
The overall goal of the Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer Research Education Program (TREC Training Workshop) is to provide an annual, in person 5-day transdisciplinary research in energy balance and cancer training course early career investigators (i.e., junior faculty and postdocs). Cohorts will span a diverse array of academic backgrounds (i.e., basic, clinical and population cancer research) and in collaboration with the wider community of TREC-inspired scientists will enhance the ability to produce innovative and impactful transdisciplinary research in energetics and cancer and clinical care.
The prevalence of obesity in the United States and globally has increased significantly over the last three decades, with more than one-third of US adults categorized as obese and one-third categorized as overweight.1 Obesity is quickly overtaking tobacco use as the leading preventable cause of developing and dying of cancer, and it is primarily caused by poor diet and physical inactivity which are also independent risk factors for cancer development and mortality.1-3 Given the rising prevalence of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity, known in combination as “energy balance” or “energetics”, as well as their associations with factors of cancer, innovative research, clinical care and training of scientists are needed to lower the prevalence of these risk factors and in turn, lower cancer incidence and mortality rates.
A growing number of studies have examined observational associations and interventional effects of diet, physical activity and obesity on various biological, psychosocial, and behavioral outcomes associated with cancer.4-6 These studies have focused on healthy populations, high risk populations and those diagnosed with cancer.4-8 However, even with the growing number of scholarly publications in this field, many of the studies suffer methodological limitations, and this research to date has not led to sufficient implementation of weight management and/or physical activity interventions/programs in the clinic or community. Recognition of the complex, multidimensional relationship between energy balance and cancer has motivated the development of new transdisciplinary training models, as the training of scientists and clinicians in energy balance and cancer research is critical.