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Markey receives NIH Funding to Build on Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Research


For many breast cancer patients, breast reconstruction is a central component of their treatment. But due to the overwhelming number of options and conflicting preferences, this process can sometimes be confusing and difficult.

photo of Mia Markey

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Professor Mia K. Markey with a 5-year $3.4 million grant to help the breast reconstruction decision-making process easier for women. This grant will build on related interdisciplinary research that Markey has collaborated on with clinical psychologist Dr. Michele Fingeret, decision scientist Dr. Scott Cantor, and plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Reece, all from of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Fatima Merchant, an alum of the UT Austin Biomedical Engineering Department and an assistant professor of engineering technology at the University of Houston is also a lead researcher, and Dr. K. Ravi-Chandar, a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, rounds out the research team.

With this funding, researchers will develop predictive algorithms for combining the knowledge base of potential reconstruction outcomes, established with recent NIH support, with patient-specific information and patient values. The vision of this research is to provide a decision support system that will enable breast cancer patients, in consultation with their healthcare providers, to choose a reconstruction strategy tailored specifically to them.

This grant focuses on the presentation of reconstruction options to women and developing ways to understand what they need and how to clearly communicate their options to them.