Personal Statement

I bring a broad knowledge base in molecular epidemiology, molecular diagnostic development, public health, as well training of graduate, post-graduate and junior scientists through several NIH-funded Cooperative Research Centers I have been the PI of. I have taken on a growing leadership role in the past year working in Africa, Thailand and India to evaluate the implementation of resource stratified primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention strategies.

With a long-standing solid track record of delivering large population-based multi- disciplinary programs addressing the translational spectrum of cancer etiology, diagnosis and prevention over more than 30 years, my group has contributed to cooperative research programs spanning from T0 toT4 outlined briefly as follows:

  1. Characterizing both host and viral genetic risk factors of cervical cancer outcomes;
  2. Characterizing environmental risk factors including smoking, hormones and nutrition while considering race/ethnicity and behaviors modifying the risk of disease outcomes;
  3. Understanding and characterizing the world-wide population-based distribution and phylogeny of a broad spectrum of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) infecting the human lower genital tract;
  4. Characterizing the utility of biomarkers of risk for diagnosis and triage of cervical precancer and cancer;
  5. Developing diagnostic assays and international HPV DNA standards for the World Health Organization to support monitoring of global HPV vaccine implementation in middle and lower income countries;
  6. Leading North American efforts for phase I to III clinical trials for bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines and understanding vaccine co-administration, cross protection and dosing schedules;
  7. Developing local, national and international programs and policies for cancer screening;
  8. Formative research to understand women’s attitudes and beliefs around primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention;
  9. Founding and funding a population-based electronic surveillance system, the New Mexico HPV Pap Registry (NMHPVPR) which under state mandate receives reports of all cervical Paps, cervical, vulvar and vaginal pathology and HPV testing to define screening practices and outcomes in the opportunistic cervical screening delivery across New Mexico’s including screening, diagnosis and treatment;
  10. Working to establish groundwork with the New Mexico Department of Health to establish a colorectal screening information system using the NMHPVPR surveillance model;
  11. Assessing implementation, impact and effectiveness of HPV vaccines against HPV-related outcomes including abnormal Pap tests and pre-cancer diagnoses while continuously monitoring changing cancer screening practices.

I am currently the Principal Investigator of the Epidemiology and Prevention Interdisciplinary Center for Sexually Transmitted Infections (EPIC-STI) an NIH STI Cooperative Research Centers I am also currently the PI of an FDA-regulated evaluation using the NMHPVPR longitudinal data and research-related research specimen resources to approve a new HPV diagnostic indication.

My experience as PI of various NIH cooperative centers over decades offers a long- standing recognition of the importance of multidisciplinary approaches in the evaluation and delivery of cancer prevention implementing evidence into policy and practice. Below are a few of the publications aligned with the overarching goals of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center and in particular its efforts in Population Sciences.

Achievements & Awards

The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Chair in Translational Medicine and Public Health Sciences