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Dr. Lerman: Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at Cancer Center

Dr. Caryn E. Lerman has been named Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Penn Cancer Center and Director of the Tobacco Research Program at the Leonard & Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Lerman, a professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, will also have an appointment at Annenberg Public Policy Center.

"Dr. Lerman's recruitment is such a vital component to realizing our overall mission," said Dr. John H. Glick, director of the Penn Cancer Center and the Abramson Institute. "Caryn is a preeminent cancer control researcher with recognized expertise in tobacco control research. She's an exceptional scientific leader who will significantly elevate the level of research productivity and collaboration throughout the Cancer Center."

Dr. Lerman's research explores the relationships between genetics and cancer-related behaviors. As the leader of Penn's cancer control research effort, she applies molecular genetic technologies to the development of new cancer prevention and control strategies. One area of her research explores patient decision-making and outcomes of breast and colon cancer genetic testing for high-risk families. In addition, as part of a Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center Grant from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, her team investigates the contribution of genetic factors to nicotine addiction through basic, clinical and population research. Recently, Dr. Lerman and her colleagues have linked genetic variants in the brain's dopamine and serotonin pathways with smoking behaviors.

"Advances in molecular genetics provide unprecedented opportunities for identifying susceptible individuals and targeting disease prevention and treatment strategies to them," said Dr. Lerman. "However, until such time as disease susceptibility can be modified at the molecular level, reductions in morbidity and mortality are most likely to be achieved by changes in individuals' behaviors. This work has the potential to alter standard public health approaches to disease prevention by leading to interventions that are individually tailored to a patient's genetic profile," explained Dr. Lerman.

Prior to coming to Penn in July of this year, Dr. Lerman was a professor of oncology, psychiatry, and pharmacology and associate director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Dr. Lerman earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 1981. She received a master's in psychology in 1982 and a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1984, both from the University of Southern California. Prior to going to Georgetown in 1993, she was director of behavioral oncology research at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Dr. Lerman has been the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Preventive Oncology Academic Award from the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association. She currently serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has co-chaired the NCI Tobacco Research Implementation Group.

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 6, October 2, 2001


October 2, 2001
Volume 48 Number 6

Dr. Lerman appointed associate director for Cancer Control and Population Science and director of the Tobacco Research program at the Leonard & Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
$2.1 million grant to introduce advanced security features into standard office PCs.
Dennis DeTurck, Srilata Gangulee and Alton Strange will serve the Colleges Houses this year.
The new director for public serves at the Library is Sandra Kerbel.
Wharton as appointed Steven Oliveira as associate dean for External Affairs.
UCD has announced it's new executive director.
Deadlines are announced for Pilot and Feasibility Grants, Trustees' Council Grants, Robert Bosch Fellowships and Luce Scholars Program
Year-end Council reports: Community Relations; Facilities; Personnel Benefits; Pluralism; Quality of Student Life; and Safety and Security.
A new Temporary Staffing Services has a new vendor; EHRS has Training for October and Annual Tuberculosis Screening is now available.
Steinhardt Hall, the new Hillel Center breaks ground.