University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Susan K. Peterson, PhD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). Dr. Peterson’s research focuses on psychosocial and behavioral outcomes of genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes in cancer survivors and their families, as well as the integration of genetic services into general oncology care. Dr. Peterson's ongoing and completed research has focused on cancer survivors' and families' decision-making about genetic testing and receiving genetic test results, and the subsequent psychological and behavioral impact of those decisions. Her research encompasses several hereditary cancer syndromes, including hereditary colorectal cancers, hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Dr. Peterson also has a major research interest in the development and evaluation of novel, e-Health interventions for pediatric and adult cancer survivors, people at risk for hereditary cancers, and health care providers. A cross-cutting theme across many of her studies is the integration of technological advances for measurement and monitoring of behavioral outcomes, communication and education, decision-making and psycho-oncology.

Eileen H. Shinn, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Science. Her research interests include behavioral interventions, especially focusing on adherence, biobehavioral outcomes in cancer, and dissemination of interventions via mobile technologies. She has been PI of four NIH grants, including an R01 testing an adherence intervention in head and neck cancer patients to reduce rates of late-term dysphagia. Dr. Shinn is collaborating with a DOD Consortium Development Project characterizing biobehavioral factors in long-term versus short-term ovarian cancer survivors. She is also multi-PI on a newly-funded R01 testing the efficacy of a dehydration sensor in reducing hospitalization rates for head and neck cancer patients during radiation. Finally, she is working with genomic researchers in breast cancer to investigate the interaction of adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy and tumoral sensitivity to endocrine treatment on outcomes.

Beth M. Beadle, MD, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, specializing in the treatment of head and neck cancers. She has been on faculty since 2009. Prior to that, she received a BA in Chemistry in 1996, a PhD in Biophysics and Structural Biology in 2002, and an MD in 2004 from Northwestern University. She then completed surgical training as an intern at Northwestern University and went on to her residency in radiation oncology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Through her experiences in clinical medicine and basic science research, she has developed an appreciation for designing studies with scientific merit and clinical relevance. In addition, Dr. Beadle has a special interest in technology, having been an X-ray crystallographer during her graduate studies. The integration of molecular analysis, advanced imaging, biomonitoring, and large database research are areas in which she is particularly interested. Dr. Beadle’s continues to work towards advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of patients with head and neck cancers.

Adam S. Garden, MD is a Professor of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, with specialization in the treatment of patients with cancers of the head and neck. A primary focus of his research has been on outcomes of patients with head and neck cancer. In addition to survival outcomes, he has investigated the outcomes of patients with regards to the morbidity of treatment that results from therapy, and methods to mitigate these adverse events. These methods have included improved techniques of radiation treatment planning and delivery, and effectiveness of proactive rehabilitation for swallowing to minimize dysphagia in our irradiated patients, as well as being an investigator on the CYCORE project to develop a novel cyber-infrastructure that integrates behavioral and environmental data for comparative effectiveness research.

Sanjay Shete, PhD, is Genetic Epidemiologist with interests in developing statistical methods for genetic data. He is Section Chief of Behavioral and Social Statistics in the division of Quantitative Sciences. He currently serves as the principal investigator for a Genome-wide Association Study of Head and Neck Cancer (5R01CA131324) and is principal investigator (with Dr. Reyes-Gibby) for a Molecular Epidemiology of Neuropathic Pain in Head and Neck Cancer (1R01DE022891). He is also the principal investigator (with Dr. Chang) for NIDA funded R25 training grant on Innovative Multidisciplinary Education: The Statistical Genetics of Addiction 5R25DA026120). His ability to design and undertake creative genetic epidemiological studies in collaboration with other scientists is evidenced by the range of genetic investigations of complex disorders in which he has been involved. Dr. Shete is currently director of the Biomathematics and Biostatistics program at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Shete has institutional leadership responsibilities as vice-chair of one of the Institutional Review Boards. He was a member of Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Committee and currently a member of the scientific program committee of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society. He was a chartered member of the Cardiovascular and Sleep Epidemiology Study Section for National Institute of Health. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. Currently, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Genetic Epidemiology Journal.

Chan Shen, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Research and the Department of Biostatistics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is also a health policy scholar at the Baker Institute at Rice University. Shen was a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University for two years before joining MD Anderson. Her expertise is in health economics and econometrics. She has published in highly respectable health and econometrics journals and has given presentations at numerous international conferences and institutions. Shen serves as a referee for many internationally circulated journals such as Econometrica, Medical Decision Making and the Journal of Econometrics. She holds an M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University.

Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH, is a Professor of Behavioral Science and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research focuses on cancer survivors and the role of health behavior interventions in decreasing the severity of late effects, improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life and reducing risk of chronic diseases. In addition, she studies intervention methods for behavior change and innovative real-time methods for assessing symptoms and behavior in cancer patients and survivors. Dr. Basen-Engquist recently completed an R01 study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to investigate the mechanisms of exercise adoption and maintenance in endometrial cancer survivors, using a social cognitive theory model that tests the social, physiological and behavioral predictors of exercise adherence. Additionally, 2 NCI-funded pilot studies are currently evaluating the benefits of exercise for advanced colon cancer patients and cancer survivors with chemotherapy induced heart failure. Through activities at the Center, Dr. Basen-Engquist endeavors to expand energy balance research by facilitating collaboration among investigators and expanding research in 3 broad areas – the effect of exercise, nutrition, and weight control on outcomes in cancer survivors; dissemination and implementation research related to energy balance interventions; and basic biobehavioral mechanisms underlying exercise, eating behavior and weight loss.

Alexander V. Prokhorov, MD, PhD, has spent most of his research career in Texas and is currently a professor in the Department of Behavioral Science, Director of the Tobacco Outreach Education Program (TOEP) and Co-Director of the Duncan Family Institute eHealth Technology Program. During his tenure at MD Anderson, Dr. Prokhorov has established a strong record of obtaining state and federally funded research grants and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. His work primarily focuses on creating and testing innovative tobacco prevention and cessation programs for high-risk teens and young adults. His interactive multimedia Web site ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience) has reached thousands of young users in Texas, across the nation and the world. He also develops programs aimed at increasing awareness of the tobacco risks among the general public and enhancing smoking cessation counseling skills among health care providers in Texas and beyond. He has projects with low income adults as well. He is a Principal Investigator for “Enhancing Cancer Outreach for Low-Income Adults with Innovative Smoking Cessation.” This study uses an existing network of community sites to deliver smoking cessation treatment to a multiethnic population of uninsured and underinsured adults living in the greater Houston, Texas metropolitan area. Dr. Prokhorov is a much sought after speaker for national and international conferences and seminars aimed at facilitating tobacco control and cancer prevention. He currently serves as a member of the Julius Richmond Center of Excellence with the mission to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke. His honors include the World Health Organization (WHO) Medal and Certificate (1990), George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research (2003), MD Anderson Educator of the Month (September 2003); an invitation to testify on smoking and adolescents before the President’s Cancer Panel (2007); and the Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award Nominee (2009). Most recently, Dr. Prokhorov was awarded the 2011 Joseph Cullen Award for Excellence in Tobacco Research from the American Society of Preventive Oncology. He was also a 2011 Julie and Ben Rodgers Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Nominee. Dr. Prokhorov received his MD from the 1st Moscow Sechenov School and his PhD from The USSR Cardiology Research Center.

Other Significant Contributors:

  • G. Brandon Gunn, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology
  • Clifton D. Fuller, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology
  • David I. Rosenthal, MD, Professor; Section Chief, Head and Neck; Director, Head and Neck Translational Research; Division of Radiation Oncology
  • William H. Morrison, MD, Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology
  • Jack Phan, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology