University of Alabama at Birmingham

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD is Professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and also is the Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried is a nutrition scientist with training in biochemistry, genetics, and behavioral science. For the past two decades, her research career has spanned basic science studies focused on determining mechanisms of action of food-related components on neoplastic progression, to clinical research that involves nutrition-related concerns of cancer patients, as well as determining effective lifestyle interventions that improve the overall health of cancer survivors and populations at high risk for cancer (relatives of cancer survivors, rural African-Americans residing in high incidence counties, etc). Her laboratory has conducted some of the largest studies exploring metabolic and body composition changes in response to cancer treatment. An area of research in which Dr. Demark-Wahnefried has experienced particular success, is in the delivery of home-based lifestyle interventions among cancer survivors where she has led and continues to lead or participate on a number of NIH-funded trials aimed at improving the diet and exercise behaviors of cancer survivors. Because of the high prevalence of obesity among breast, prostate and colorectal cancer survivors, many of her research efforts are directed toward negative energy balance, and her recently completed Reach Out to Enhance Wellness (RENEW) trial among 641 older, obese and overweight cancer survivors showed not only efficacy in promoting weight loss with a home-based intervention, but also durability and reproducibility. Her work in cancer survivorship has given rise to roughly 200 scientific publications, and recognition as a Komen Professor of Survivorship. In addition to her research, Dr. Demark-Wahnefried also serves on several committees, including the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines Panel for Nutrition and Physical Activity among Cancer Survivors, the World Cancer Research Fund, the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines Panel for Physical Activity in Cancer Survivors, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Committee on Cancer Survivorship, and the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried also is the current president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology and will complete her term in March 2015.