Thank you to Erik Anderson, Co-Chairman & CEO of Topgolf® and to the entire Topgolf team for promoting a healthy lifestyle by supporting programs and research in the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship. Topgolf’s fundraising efforts in July of 2017 raised $50,000 for the Center.
Learn more about the Topgolf partnership.
Getting to Know Adriana Coletta, Ph.D., RD
Adriana Coletta seemed destined to be right where she is at this point in time, integrating principles from sports nutrition and kinesiology in cancer research. “I have been interested in cancer research since I was in high school,” she recalls. “One of the main reasons I went to Penn State (University Park, PA) was to get involved in the Penn State Dance Marathon (a.k.a. THON), the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. The organization raises millions of dollars each year to support cancer research at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center and to help families afford their child’s care. I was involved in this organization throughout my entire time at Penn State, and even participated in the 46-hour dance marathon, while representing the University’s Student Nutrition Association.”
In addition to her involvement in THON, Dr. Coletta competed in the lightweight division on the Penn State Crew Team, where she learned first-hand the role nutrition played in optimizing body composition and human performance. At Penn State she worked with Dr. Kris Clark, a world-renowned sports dietician, and was inspired to pursue a career in sports nutrition research. After earning her B.S. in Nutrition at Penn State, she moved to the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) to earn an MS in Nutrition Science with a minor in Exercise Science and complete a dietetic internship program to obtain her license to practice as a registered dietitian. “Dr. Hollie Raynor took me on as a mentee and allowed me to work between the nutrition and exercise science departments to complete my masters thesis project. Part of my training included working in Dr. Raynor’s behavioral weight loss laboratory, where I first became interested in energy balance work.”
By the end of her M.S. and dietetic internship program, Dr. Coletta was certain she wanted to do research, but decided to take a break from school and get a job. She was offered a position as a pediatric dietitian at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (Baltimore, MD). “I loved my job and being part of the medical team working with patients and their families,” she explains. “In my work, I found that I was frequently answering questions about exercise and dietary strategies. This brought sports nutrition back into the picture and inspired me to marry the concepts of sports nutrition and kinesiology in clinical care. This led me to pursue my Ph.D. in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX). I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Kreider, whose lab conducted research in both sports nutrition and energy balance with clinical populations. My dissertation was a six-month diet and exercise intervention that included a genetic component similar to the concepts of precision medicine. During this process, I felt that my dissertation intervention still needed a structured behavioral component to assist with lifestyle compliance. This reignited my interest in cancer research and ultimately led me to my current position at MD Anderson.”
Since May of 2016, Dr. Coletta has served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the NCI R25 Cancer Prevention Research Training Program and in the Department of Behavioral Science. Her mentors are Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist and Dr. Susan Gilchrist. Her primary project consisted of a supervised exercise intervention to determine if there is a level of exercise more effective at promoting favorable changes in biomarkers linked with breast cancer among women at heightened risk of breast cancer. Other projects she has worked on include assessment of physical activity behavior and identification of demographic, social and clinical predictors of physical activity behavior among cancer prevention patients and breast cancer survivors in a clinical cancer prevention setting, a home-based exercise intervention among endometrial cancer survivors, and an assessment of different methods to measure body composition and quantify visceral fat among gastrointestinal and pancreatic patients and survivors. “Moving forward, my energy balance research will integrate principles from sports nutrition and kinesiology to optimize body composition and associated biomarkers for cancer prevention and survivorship. There is much to be studied and done in this area, and I am grateful to have had such incredible mentors along the way,” she concludes.
Shortly after making her presentation at the June Energy Balance Research Seminar, Dr. Coletta will join the faculty at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City), as a tenure track professor. With her track record and expertise, it is safe to assume she will leave yet another mark with her meaningful work, as she has, time after time.
The Third Expert Report
In May 2018, the World Cancer Research Fund International and American Institute for Cancer Research launched their The Third Expert Report - Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective. This report summarizes past decades of cancer prevention research, providing reliable cancer advice and updated Cancer Prevention Recommendations. It highlights new findings, including five additional cancers linked to obesity and strengthened evidence that specific food or nutrients are not single factors causing or protecting against cancer. Instead, a combination of diet and physical activity throughout life combine to make you more or less vulnerable to cancer.
A few of the chapters are:
- Cancer Process
- Judging the Evidence
- Energy Balance and Body Fatness
- Survivors of Breast and Other Cancers
- Recommendations and Public Health and Policy Implications
Going Gym Free with Hosts Marc & Beth and Guest Karen Basen-Engquist: Blog Talk Radio
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Science and director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship was a featured guest on the "Let's Talk! Going Gym Free Show" with Marc and Beth. Listen now
The National Cancer Institute is providing data for researchers to develop novel analytic approaches for quantifying physical activity and dietary exposures
This data is available to all qualified investigators for studies of physical activity and nutrition. Interested investigators can request access to IDATA Study via the Cancer Data Access System.