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National Cancer Institute

Behavioral Research Program Crosstalk Symposium 2014

Leveraging Lessons Learned across Behavioral Domains October 30, 2014

The Behavioral Research Program’s “Crosstalk” invited speakers series has traditionally been presented as a monthly lecture series of invited experts in behavioral and social science research. The goal of this series is to engage researchers whose work explicitly translates theory and/or methods from one literature or topic area, such as obesity, to another, such as tobacco cessation. Crosstalk is part of a BRP initiative to expand connections between, and among, behavioral science disciplines and among, behavioral science disciplines - both within our intramural and extramural grant-funded researchers.

The inaugural Crosstalk Symposium 2014: Leveraging Lessons Learned across Behavioral Domains will expand the monthly series by bringing together a group of scientists whose work exemplifies the goals of Crosstalk. Each invited speaker will present their work and the challenges and barriers of working across health domains. During the second day of the conference, participants will take part in a workshop to discuss potential opportunities and/or collaborations.


Past Crosstalk speakers have included:

Leonard Epstein, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Social and Preventive Medicine, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Epstein’s presentation, “Behavioral Choice Theory and Obesity: From Molecular Genetics to Public Policy” adeptly applied the theory of behavioral economics to public health issues ranging from drug dependence to eating habits. Moreover, he explored these public health issues with a behavioral economic lens from the genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral levels. His studies on human eating and physical activity exemplify how the interaction of genetic factors and behavioral phenotypes may influence the motivation to eat. These principles are extended to clinical and prevention research on weight loss in children and connected to the role of environmental changes that favor healthier eating and greater access to physical activity. The studies highlight the importance of integrating basic and clinical research, and the potential for multidisciplinary approaches to improve healthy behaviors.

Caryn Lerman, Ph.D.
Mary W. Calkins Professor of Psychiatry, Deputy Director, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Lerman’s presentation, “Translational Research on Tobacco Dependence Treatment” demonstrated her work on the translation of discoveries in neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics, and behavioral science to develop new treatment approaches for tobacco dependence. Her scientific model bridges biology and behavior to examine the role of genetic variation in risk of smoking relapse and treatment efficacy, and to elucidate the mediating brain mechanisms using novel neuroimaging approaches. She provided specific examples of how preclinical animal models can be used to identify novel treatment targets, and how these findings can be translated to smokers. Her examples highlight transdisciplinary concepts and translational research approaches.

Geoffrey Williams, MD, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Williams’ presentation, “Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Motivating Health Behavior” explores the applications of Self-Determination Theory, the theory of human motivation that assumes humans are oriented toward well-being and personal growth. SDT based interventions have been tested among several health related domains including tobacco dependence treatment, cholesterol, dental health, physical activity, weight loss, and medication adherence. Studies show that the intervention facilitated internalization of autonomy and competence and improved targeted mental and physical health outcomes compared to control groups.


For questions, please contact Emily Grenen at

Meeting Location
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
9609 Medical Center Drive
Rockville, MD 20850

Travel Information
Public Transportation
To get to NCI Shady Grove via metro, take the Red Line to the Shady Grove stop, which is the terminal station. Information about the Metro transit system, including fares, schedules, and estimated travel times from other stops can be found at Exit Disclaimer

A complimentary NIH shuttle provides transportation from the Shady Grove Metro Station to the NCI Shady Grove Building. During commuting times (6:00 – 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.), service runs every 15 minutes. Between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., there is a shuttle every 30 minutes. The shuttle schedule is available at the following link:

There is also a shuttle that runs from the main lobby of Building 31 on the NIH Main Campus to NCI Shady Grove every thirty minutes between 7:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.

A Hotel room block will be reserved at the Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center. Exit Disclaimer Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging.

There is also free parking available at NCI Shady Grove-guests are welcome to park in any unmarked spot.

Please note that you will be required to go through NIH security to enter NCI Shady Grove so please bring a government issued photo ID. All persons and belongings will go through a metal detector upon arrival.

Internet Access
Free and open WIFI is available in the NCI building.

Meal Information
Please note that breakfast and coffee/snacks will NOT be provided during the meeting; attendees will be responsible for getting their own meals at their own cost.

There is a cafeteria in the NCI building on the Terrace Level (this link Exit Disclaimer provides more information about the food available in the cafeteria). In addition, there are a number of restaurants and cafés located near NCI Shady Grove.

Please contact Emily Grenen at