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Renee A. Desmond, DVM PhD

Renee A. Desmond, DVM PhD Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Medical Towers 637
1717 11th Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Phone: (205) 934-3722
Fax: (205) 934-4262
Web Site

Research Interests

  • Cancer Epidemiology
  • Cancer Prevention and Control
  • Nutrition and Cancer
  • Obesity

Current Research Projects

P30DK56336 (Desmond)  06/26/2017 – 05/31/2022 
UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) Biostatistics Core
The objective of the NORC is to foster a multidisciplinary approach to basic, clinical, and translational research focusing on an understanding of factors underlying nutrition and obesity-related health problems. Overall, the Biostatistics Core (BC) serves as the focal point from which NORC investigators draw statistical expertise for the design, management and analysis of nutrition-related research projects. The specific aims of the BC are to: 1) Coordinate and manage statistical activities in the NORC to ensure that investigators have ready access to statistical consultation and support; 2) Provide statistical consultation on study design and research proposal development; 3) Provide statistical analyses for NORC projects including statistical genetics; 4) Participate in teaching and training activities of the NORC; and 5) Develop methodologies for novel experimental designs and analyses. Dr. Desmond is Director of the BC for NORC.

R25CA76023 (Waterbor)  09/01/2015 – 08/30/2020 
UAB Cancer Research Experiences for Students (CaRES)
The long-term goal of the CaRES Program is to motivate participating UAB biomedical graduate students and medical students as well as students in other select institutions to pursue careers in cancer research. The short-term goals of CaRES are to furnish interested students the support needed to undertake a short cancer research experience under the guidance of the UAB CCC faculty and to furnish these faculty capable students who can enhance their research productivity. Dr. Desmond assists with statistical analyses and manuscript development for trainees and is the Director of Student Research.

C80113172 (Desmond)  06/30/2019-05/30/2020 
Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Coalition
An evaluation will be conducted of the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, plan and coalition. The findings will be incorporated into reports delivered to the Alabama Department of Public Health and CDC an annual basis.

R01DK103863 (Dutton)  06/15/2015-05/31/2020 
Fixed Versus Variable Energy Reduction During Behavioral Obesity Treatment
This project investigates two treatments for weight loss. One treatment uses a fixed calorie diet and the other uses a variable calorie diet to compare the effects on reductions in weight loss and other biological, behavioral, and psychosocial outcomes. Dr. Desmond assisted with the study design and randomization and will assist with progress reports, data analysis and manuscript preparation.

R01DK116726 (Gower)  04/01/2018-03/31/2023 
Depletion of Pancreatic Lipid Improves Beta-Cell Function in Early Type 2 Diabetes
Specifically, this study will be the first to demonstrate that a weight-maintaining low-glycemic diet improves glucose tolerance by increasing first-phase insulin secretion. Results may be particularly relevant to African-Americans who are at greater risk for T2D. Dr. Desmond will be responsible for the randomization, statistical analysis, and assist with manuscript preparation.

R01DK115483-01A1 (Gower)  09/01/2018-04/30/2023 
Obesity Risk in African American Women is Determined by a Diet-by-Phenotype Interaction
This study represents the first prospective study to examine the effects of an LG diet for obese AA women as well as probe the potential metabolic mechanism. Dr. Desmond will oversee the statistical aspects of the project, including planning; analyzing preliminary and final data; preparing data in text and tabular format for presentation in manuscripts and progress reports; and working with the co-investigators on manuscripts and abstracts for annual scientific meetings. She will be responsible for generating the randomization scheme, and for conducting both interim (10 weeks) and final statistical analyses for Aims 1-3. She will perform exploratory analyses to determine the most appropriate methods of normalizing outcome measures, and for identifying relevant covariates.

Educational Background

  • Purdue University, BS Biology, 1979, West Lafayette, IN
  • Purdue University, DVM Veterinary Medicine, 1983, West Lafayette, IN
  • Georgetown University, MS Biostatistics & Epidemiology, 1993, Washington, DC
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, PhD Epidemiology, 1996, Birmingham, Alabama

Professional Activities

  • Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Coalition, Evaluation Chair (2005-present)
  • Mentor for Minority Health Research Center Scholar Program (2010-2011)
  • Nutrition Obesity Research Center (Biostatistics Core Director, 2006-present)
  • Comprehensive Cancer Center (Associate Scientist)
  • Cancer Center Clinical Trials Review Committee (Member)
  • Post-doc Fellow in Cancer Prevention and Control, 1993-1996, UAB
  • Reviewer: Obesity, Annals of Surgical Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Cancer, Chest, Melanoma Research, American Journal of Medicine, Journal of Gastroenterology

Selected Recent Publications

  • Pekmezi D, Ainsworth C, Joseph R, Bray MS, Kvale E, Isaac S, Desmond R, Meneses K, Marcus B, Demark-Wahnefried W. Rationale, design and baseline findings from HIPP: a randomized trial testing the home-based, individually tailored physical activity print intervention for African American women in the deep south.  Contemporary Clinicial Trials 2016; 47:340-8. PMID 26944022 PMCID PMC4821007.
  • Demark-Wahnefried W, Nix JW, Hunter GR, Rais-Bahrami S, Desmond RA, Chacko B, Morrow CD, Azrad M, Fruge A*, Tsuruta Y, Ptacek T, Tully SA, Segal R, Grizzle WE. Feasibility outcomes of a presurgical randomized controlled trial exploring the impact of caloric restriction and increased physical activity versus a wait-list control on tumor characteristics and circulating biomarkers in men electing prostatectomy for prostate cancer. BMC Cancer 2016;16:61. PMID 26850040 PMCID PMC4743419.
  • Desmond R, Jackson BE, Waterbor JW.  Disparities in Cancer Survivorship Indicators In the Deep South Based on BRFSS Data: Recommendations for Survivorship Care Plans.  Southern Med J. PMID: 28257542 PMCID: PMC5338646 [Available on 2018-03-01] DOI: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000617
  • Padilla AL*, Desmond RA, Brooks M, Waterbor JW. Automated Searches for Publications as a Component of Longitudinal Tracking of Cancer Research Training Program Graduates. J Cancer Educ. . 2016 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27734282
  • Frugé A*, Ptacek T, Tsuruta Y, Morrow CD, Azrad M, Desmond RA, Hunter GR, Rais-Bahrami S, Demark-Wahnefried W. Dietary changes impact the gut microbe composition in overweight and obese men with prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy. J Acad Nutr Dietetics 2016. Dec. 14. pii: S2212-2672(16)31299-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.10.017. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27988219 PMCID:PMC5471140.
  • Pekmezi D, Ainsworth C, Joseph RP, Williams V, Desmond R, Meneses K, Marcus B, Demark-Wahnefried W. Pilot Trial of a Home-based Physical Activity Program for African American Women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jul 12. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001370. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28704343.
  • Demark-Wahnefried W, Rais-Bahrami S, Desmond R, Gordetsky J, Hunter G, Yang E, Azrad M, Fruge A*, Tsuruta Y, Norian L, Segal R, Grizzle W. Presurgical weight loss affects tumor traits and circulating biomarkers in men with prostate cancer. Br J Cancer 2017 2017 Oct 24;117(9):1303-1313. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.303. Epub 2017 Sep 7. PMID: 28881355
  • Chandler MR, Keene KS, Tuomela JM, Forero-Torres A, Desmond R, Vuopala KS, Harris KW, Merner ND, Selander KS.  Lower frequency of TLR9 variant associated with protection from breast cancer among African Americans. Plos One PLoS One. 2017 Sep 8;12(9):e0183832. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183832. eCollection 2017. PMID: 28886076 PMCID: PMC5590816
  • Demark-Wahnefried W, Rais-Bahrami S, Desmond RA, Gordetsky JB, Azrad M, Frugé AD*, Yang ES, Norian LA, Grizzle WE.  Reply to “Phase II prospective randomized trial of weight loss prior to radical prostatectomy. Prostate Cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2018 Jun;21(2):293-294. doi: 10.1038/s41391-018-0038-9. Epub 2018 Apr 24. No abstract available. PMID: 29686416
  • Pekmezi D, Ainsworth C, Holly T, Williams V, Joseph R2 Wang K, Rogers LQ, Marcus B,  Desmond R, Demark-Wahnefried W. Physical Activity and Related Psychosocial Outcomes From a Pilot Randomized Trial of an Interactive Voice Response System-Supported Intervention in the Deep South. Health Educ Behav. 2018 Dec;45(6):957-966. doi: 10.1177/1090198118775492. Epub 2018 Jun 8.
  • Pekmezi, D., Ainsworth, M.C., Desmond, R., Pisu, M., Williams, V., Wang, K., Holly, T., Meneses, K., Marcus, B.H., Demark-Wahnefried, W. Physical activity maintenance following home-based, individually-tailored print interventions for African American women. Health Promotion Practice. 2018 Sep 11:1524839918798819. doi: 10.1177/1524839918798819. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30203677.
  • Desmond RA, Venkatesh R, Padilla LA, Daniel CL, Litton AG, Heimburger DC, Brooks CM, Waterbor JW. Twenty-five-Year follow-up of short-term cancer research trainees at the University of Alabama: a Brief Report. J Cancer Educ. 2018 Jul 25. doi: 10.1007/s13187-018-1404-y. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30043388