Researcher Profile: Meredith Tennis

Meredith Tennis

Meredith Tennis, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Pulmonary Science and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, was awarded a LUNGevity Career Development Award. Her studies focusing on reducing lung cancer risk have demonstrated her promise as a successful lung cancer researcher.

Dr. Tennis is studying two drugs, iloprost and pioglitazone, which affect the same molecular pathway and have demonstrated promise in reducing the risk of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In previous work, her research team found that iloprost was shown to reduce the damage caused by smoking cigarettes. Another group found that pioglitazone was associated with decreased lung cancer risk in diabetic patients.

Because both of these drugs affect the PPAR-gamma pathway in tumor cells, Dr. Tennis is interested in analyzing the PPAR-gamma pathway for biomarkers that will increase the efficiency of testing these treatments.

This award will support her continued progress in the prevention of lung cancer and her continued growth as a lung cancer researcher. In addition to funding her research, the award requires Dr. Tennis to participate in a structured mentoring program at her institution, as well as become a non-voting member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board for the duration of her award.

This LUNGevity grant allows Dr. Tennis to leverage the tissue samples collected during the clinical trials of iloprost and pioglitazone to identify biomarkers along the PPAR-gamma pathway that will help doctors identify patients who are likely to benefit from the drugs. She will also be looking for biomarkers that indicate the drugs are working in order to reduce the need for invasive testing during future trials.  

By conducting this research, Dr. Tennis is confirming her commitment to the lung cancer field and working toward her ultimate goal of making lung cancer chemoprevention a reality.