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September 25, 2001

Caryn E. Lerman, PhD, Named Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center

(Philadelphia, PA) - Caryn E. Lerman, PhD, has been named Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center and Director of the Tobacco Research Program at the Leonard & Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Lerman, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will also have an appointment at Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

"Dr. Lerman's recruitment is such a vital component to realizing our overall mission," said John H. Glick, MD, Director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center and the Abramson Institute. "Caryn is a pre-eminent 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."

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, 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
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 Lerman.

Prior to coming to Penn, 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.

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 Goergetown in 1993, she was Director of Behavioral Oncology Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
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.

Lerman lives with her husband Troy Brady and golden retriever Hillary in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

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