Cancer Disparities SPORE Research Projects

The Cancer Disparities SPORE consists of two main Research Projects that place an emphasis on colon adenoma, precursor lesion of colorectal cancer (CRC), and on breast cancer, which are the two leading causes of cancer death in the United States and the industrialized world.

Epigenetic Age Acceleration, Neighborhood Disadvantage, and Racial Disparities in Risk of Colon Adenoma

headshot of Claudia J. Coulton
Portrait of Li Li MD PhD

Leaders: Li Li, MD, PhD and Claudia Coulton, PhD

This highly transdisciplinary project investigates the complex interplay of neighborhood contextual factors, personal lifestyle, and colonic tissue epigenetic aging in racial disparities and development of colon neoplasia.


Role of MYC-MIZ1 signaling and the inflammatory immune microenvironment in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Racial Disparities

Profile of William Schiemann
Portrait of Cynthia Owusu MD
Image of Vinay Varadan.

Leaders: Vinay Varadan, PhDCynthia Owusu, MD, and William Schiemann, PhD

This project focuses on testing the hypothesis that racial differences in tumor MYC-MIZ1 signaling and the inflammatory immune microenvironment jointly contribute to triple-negative breast cancer outcome disparities.  


Developmental Research Program

Through the support of translational research-focused pilot projects, the Developmental Research Program (DRP) fosters the development of new investigators and new approaches to cancer disparities research. These projects will contribute to improved prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of cancers found to disproportionately affect populations who experience cancer health disparities. 

Functional Immune-Phenotypes underlying Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer

Awardee: Stefanie Avril, MD


A Stress Biomarker Mediator of a Bridges Out of Poverty CA Control Intervention

Awardee: Heidi Gullett, MD, MPH


Role of Methylation in Prostate Cancer Health Disparity

Awardees: Fredrick Schumacher, PhD, MPH and Simon Kim, MD, MPH


Exploration of the Relationship between Social and Demographic Factors with Epigenetic Drivers in Race Associated Colon Cancer Disparities

Awardee: Joseph Willis, MD