CHP students wins dissertation award

Elizabeth Kacel wins the UF Health Cancer Center Cancer Biology Dissertation Award  kacel

Elizabeth Kacel, CHP doctoral student (Mentor: Deidre Pereira, PhD), has received a competitive $10,000 Cancer Biology Dissertation Award from the UF Health Cancer Center.

The award will support Kacel’s dissertation project on yoga as a novel intervention program to manage Fear of Cancer Recurrence among women with gynecologic cancer. Funds from this award will be used to develop and implement a pilot study testing the feasibility and acceptability of a yoga program for gynecologic cancer patients.

Fear of Cancer Recurrence is defined as worry that cancer will return or progress in the future. Elevated Fear of Cancer Recurrence has been shown to be associated with functional impairment, reduced quality of life, and healthcare overuse. Very limited research exists on how to manage this aspect of the cancer experience.

The project integrates Kacel’s extensive experience as a certified yoga instructor and research coordinator. Additionally, the study will contribute to existing literature regarding the growing use of yoga and other integrative medicine approaches for improving quality of life throughout the cancer care continuum. The long-range goal of the project is to clarify future directions for research regarding the biobehavioral relationships between psychological distress, neuroendocrine dysregulation,  and cancer clinical outcomes.

The Cancer Biology Dissertation Awards are intended to recognize and support outstanding pre-doctoral candidates who are conducting innovative cancer research. The award allots a total of $10,000 to the recipient for a one-year period: $8,000 for laboratory supplies and $2,000 for equipment/computer and travel expenses for the student. There is the possibility of a second-year renewal.