Spring 2015

Spring 2015

We are pleased to tell you about the recently-launched Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences Shared Resource. Dedicated to behavioral and population-based metrics, this new shared resource can help to get a different perspective — a patient-centered perspective — on research. Combining genomic data with a population study or comparing histological samples with behavioral data could lead to powerful new insights into the influence of genes, tissues and behavior on cancer genesis and metastasis. And the unique populations in New Mexico offer rare opportunities to draw these perspectives together.

Anyone who has asked a group of people a seemingly simple question and gotten wildly varying responses can attest to the difficulty in creating reliable surveys. This new resource not only brings such expertise but also handles the complexity of recruiting and retaining people to research studies and helps to manage the data they collect on behalf of their clients. And they’re able to provide services in Spanish, too. We encourage you to investigate what the new Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences Shared Resource can add to your research program.

The UNM Cancer Center Shared Resources serve over 100 laboratories or principal investigators. They provide important technology support for our entire research community, both inside and outside the Cancer Center, across the HSC and UNM, and in association with our affiliated institutions. To begin collaboration, book time, or inquire about fees, please contact any of the Shared Resources listed at the end of the newsletter.

Scott A. Ness, PhD
The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Genomics
Associate Director, UNM Cancer Center
Professor, Internal Medicine
Director, Analytical and Translational Genomics Shared Resource

Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences

A New Resource for New Directions

The new Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences Shared Resource offers support and collaborative opportunities to researchers wanting to add behavioral or population-based dimensions to their areas of study. The new, dedicated research infrastructure is devoted to catalyzing and supporting the development of cancer research in the UNM Cancer Center catchment area.

The BMPS shared resource offers several services along the research continuum including:

  • Study design;
  • Identifying and/or developing data collection tools;
  • Data collection (clinic and community-based);
  • Database management and organizational support;
  • All services in English/Spanish.

The full menu of services include:

  • Survey design, programming and implementation
  • Development and maintenance of questionnaire library
  • Oversight of and training for behavioral and community research studies
  • Recruiting, tracking and following up with research participants
  • Access to standardized survey instruments and to national datasets
  • Identifying disparities and health inequalities
  • Designing qualitative and quantitative instruments to collect reliable and valid data
  • Developing and managing research databases
  • Assistance with engaging the community and in developing and sustaining community partnerships
  • Tailoring computerized interventions
  • Assisting in developing the grant and IRB applications
  • Disseminating research findings

In addition, the BMPS shared resource faculty and staff offer individualized consultation, training and short courses in qualitative and mixed method research.

Behavioral Measurement Group

From the Lab to the Population

The BMPS shared resource currently supports several projects that reflect the diversity of population science research led by UNM Cancer Center faculty. These projects address innovative and unique topics among diverse and underserved populations that call upon the BMPS shared resource to support a wide spectrum of scientific and methodological services.

Marianne Berwick, PhD, MPH, the Co-Principal Investigator of an NIH/NCI funded R01-funded randomized controlled trial, is evaluating an intervention designed to maximize the availability and uptake of personalized genomic testing among diverse populations in New Mexico. This research reflects Dr. Berwick’s expertise in skin cancer prevention. Study activities will take place in a primary care clinic in Albuquerque. BMPS staff has provided consultation in preparation of IRB application materials and in development of effective recruitment and assessment of enrolled patients. The BMPS Community-Based Research Specialist will be heavily involved in the clinic-based recruitment as well as data collection and retention of patient participants throughout the life of the study.

The shared resource also supports a community-based qualitative study led by Teresa Rutledge, MD, that examines the unmet needs of Hispanic and rural underserved endometrial cancer survivors. This study is funded through an NIH/NIMHD supplement to the NM CARES Health Disparities Center, through the UNM Cancer Center and through an NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award. Shared resource staff worked with Dr. Rutledge’s team to refine the focus group protocol. Dr. Dolores Guest and the Community-Based Research Specialist will co-moderate these sessions throughout New Mexico in both Spanish and English.

BMPS is also taking the lead role in two smaller projects funded through the National Cancer Institute. The first is a descriptive study aimed at evaluating patients’ and providers’ views about the potential effectiveness of text messaging to improve adherence to oral chemotherapy medications among Hispanic colorectal cancer patients. The second project is an intervention trial to measure different tools (text messages and phone calls) for improving cancer prevention behaviors in Spanish-speaking Hispanics in Albuquerque. The goal of each study is to collect pilot data that will be used to inform the development of subsequent intervention trials.

Meet the New Team

Andrew Sussman

Andrew Sussman, PhD, MCRP, and Dolores Guest, PhD, RD, lead the growing team. Dr. Sussman is a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He received both of his degrees (Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology; Master’s in Community and Regional Planning) from the University of New Mexico and completed his post-doctoral training here as well. His research focuses on primary health service implementation and patient-provider counseling dynamics with diverse and underserved populations in New Mexico. He is also the Director of RIOS Net, a primary care practice-based research network affiliated with University of New Mexico, Indian Health Service and Federally Qualified Health Center clinical and community partners. Much of his research has focused on cancer prevention and has been conducted in outpatient primary care and community settings throughout New Mexico.

Dolores Guest

Dr. Guest received both of her degrees (Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences; Registered Dietitian) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her post-doctoral training in the Department of Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology at UIUC and at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dr. Guest designed and led several research studies in a number of areas including Parkinson’s disease, pain management, and women’s health and body composition. Much of her research focused on lifestyle influences in combination with genetic variability on disease development, recovery and subsequent quality of life.

Tawny Wilson Boyce

Tawny Wilson Boyce, MS, MPH, is another recent addition to the team. Ms. Boyce is an Associate Scientist working with both the BMPS and Biostatistics Shared Resources. She earned a dual Master’s degree from Tufts University focusing on epidemiology, biostatistics and nutrition. She has experience with large population datasets used to illustrate health disparities in chronic conditions and health behaviors, including people with disabilities and older adults. Ms. Boyce also has expertise in data management and analysis of longitudinal observational clinical data for use in publications and presentations for a wide range of audiences. She has used clinical, behavioral, and quality of life data to assess health outcomes and promote disease prevention across the lifespan.

For additional information or to set up a consultation please contact Dolores Guest, Senior Program Manager, 505-272-1487, or visit the Behavioral Measurement and Population Science Shared Resource page.

The UNM Cancer Center supports and manages seven shared resources that provide services essential to basic and translational research. It is developing an eighth shared resource. Each of these is available to researchers at UNM and affiliated institutions. Investigators do not have to be members of the UNM Cancer Center to use the facilities. Each of the resources is partially supported by user fees; use by Cancer Center members is subsidized through a cost-sharing mechanism. To learn more about specific services and how they might benefit your research, please refer to the service descriptions and contacts below.

Analytical and Translational Genomics Shared Resource

Scott Ness, PhD, Director
Location: CRF first floor
Phone: 505-272-5564 • Visit Website

Formerly the UNM Cancer Center Keck-UNM Genomics Resource, the Genomics Shared Resource supports basic and translational cancer research by providing cost-effective, full service next-generation sequencing (NGS) and data analysis, microarray, real-time PCR and other genomics-related technologies, including the genomic analysis of patient samples, to UNM Cancer Center members and non-member users.

Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences

Andrew Sussman, PhD, MCRP; Director
Dolores Guest, PhD, RD; Senior Program Manager
Location: CRF ground floor
Phone: 505-272-1487 • Visit Website

The Behavioral Measurement and Population Sciences Shared Resource supports the development and implementation of cancer-focused population science and patient-centered research through a dedicated research infrastructure.

Biostatistics Shared Resource

Ji-Hyun Lee, DrPH, Director
Location: CRF ground floor
Phone: 505-272-2520 and 505-272-8704 • Visit Website

The Biostatistics Shared Resource provides biostatistical leadership and analytic collaborative support. This support begins with help in formulating research hypotheses, along with analytical design and sample size determination, as needed for grant and clinical trial protocol submission and continues through monitoring of accumulating research data, analysis and assistance with manuscript development in relation to key quantitative findings, including tables and figures and scientific conclusions.

Bioinformatics & High-Dimensional Data Analysis Shared Resource

Jeremy Edwards, PhD, Director
Tudor Oprea, MD, PhD, Co-Director
Keith Lidke, PhD, Co-Director
Location: A virtual core distributed across several locations, all within a short walk from the CRF
Phone: 505-272-2520 and 505-272-8704 • Visit Website

This Resource provides state-of-the-art informatics and data analysis for genomics, cheminformatics, image analysis and other complex problems. The Resource works closely with the other Shared Resources that generate large, complex data sets and with the faculty in the Biostatistics Shared Resource who provide complementary expertise. The Resource Directors collaborate with users to design experiments, develop new methods for data analysis and interpretation, to integrate therapeutic knowledge and to assist with grant writing and data processing for publications.

Flow Cytometry & High Throughput Screening Shared Resource

Bruce Edwards, PhD, Director
Location: Innovation, Discovery & Training Complex
Phone: 505-272-6206, 505-272-8223 • Visit Website

The Flow Cytometry-HTS provides UNM Cancer Center members and other researchers with state-of-the-art instruments, infrastructure and expertise. It provides cell analysis, cell sorting, and offline data analysis as standard services. Resource users are individually trained in instrument and software use. View the Center for Molecular Discovery HSC Youtube video.

Fluorescence Microscopy & Cell Imaging Shared Resource

Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD, Director
Location: CRF second floor
Phone: 505-272-5876 • Visit Website

The Fluorescence Microscopy and Cell Imaging Resource offers complete fluorescence microscopy imaging services. It offers cutting-edge technologies for biomolecular imaging at super-resolution (nm scale), hyperspectral imaging for four-dimensional particle tracking, and light sheet microscopy (in development). An array of upright and inverted Zeiss, Nikon and Olympus microscopes handle more routine applications.

Human Tissue Repository & Tissue Analysis Shared Resource

Thèrése Bocklage, MD, Medical Director
I-Ming Chen, DVM, MS, Scientific Director
Kelly Higgins, PhD, Senior Operations Manager
Cathleen Martinez, PA, ASCP certified histotechnologist, SeniorTechnical Manager
Location: BMSB third floor
Phone: 505-272-1127 • Visit Website

The HTR-TASR supports cancer research by providing human biospecimens, basic and complex histology services, and advanced immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in-situ hybridization (ISH) technologies in a cost-effective, efficient, high quality manner. Resource specimens comprise fresh, frozen, and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumors and matching normal tissues and blood and other fluid samples.

Keck-UNM Small Animal Models and Imaging Shared Resource

Helen Hathaway, PhD, Co-Director – Animal Models
Jeffrey Norenberg, PharmD, Co-Director – Animal Imaging – KUSAIR
Donna Kusewitt, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Pathologist – Histopathology
Location:  BMSB and NRPH ground floors
Phone: 505-272-1469, 505-272-8242 • Visit Website

The KUSAIR provides cost-effective comprehensive services in the development and use of animal models for basic, translational, and pre-clinical cancer research. It offers consultation, protocol development and guidance through the compliance process, animal housing (provided in collaboration through the Animal Resource Facility), husbandry, handling, treatment, monitoring, surgery, and dissection/necropsy.

The UNM Cancer Center is a leader in cancer research and treatment. One of just 68 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the nation and the only such center in New Mexico, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research and delivery of medical advances to patients and their families. It is home to New Mexico's largest team of board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and 125 cancer research scientists. The Center’s research programs are currently supported by over $72 million annually in federal and private funding.

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