The leadership of Yale Cancer Center has selected Melinda L. Irwin, PhD, MPH, Associate Director for Population Sciences and Professor of Epidemiology, as the first recipient of the Yale Class of 1961 Cancer Research Award. This annual award recognizes significant accomplishments in cancer research at Yale University by a young member of the faculty, coupled with the expectation for future outstanding contributions to our understanding of the causes and cures for cancer.
Dr. Irwin is a prominent leader in the field of lifestyle factors and cancer. Her research over the past 15 years has focused on randomized trials of exercise and weight loss on biological markers, treatment side effects, and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors. The funding from the Yale Class of 1961 Cancer Research Award will enable Dr. Irwin to conduct analyses of novel biomarkers from stored blood and tissue from previous exercise and weight loss clinical trials for women with breast and ovarian cancer. The results of these studies will help to propel her research and provide new insights into the relationship between exercise and cancer and exercise and DNA repair.
A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Dr. Irwin received her master’s degree in science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her PhD from the University of South Carolina, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, Komen for the Cure, Livestrong Foundation, and other foundations and has published her research findings in top medical and public health journals. For the past 10 years, Dr. Irwin has been the Director of Training and Education on the NCI-Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Initiative.