Epidemiology PhD grad heads to top-ranked Sloan Kettering for health disparities fellowship and next exciting career step

June 14, 2022 • News

By Sally Crocker

University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) PhD graduate Noah Peeri is off to an exciting postdoctoral fellowship program with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, one of the world’s leading institutions in patient care, research and education.

Peeri graduated from the HSC School of Public Health (SPH) with a PhD in Epidemiology in May and has already started his new position focused on cancer epidemiology research as relates to health disparities among minority, racial and ethnic populations.

His work will be under the mentorship of Dr. Margaret Du, whose research and international collaborations focus on reducing the risk of cancer in underserved and understudied populations around the world.

Peeri has pursued the study of cancer epidemiology for six-plus years. He started along this path while working on his MPH in Epidemiology at the University of South Florida. While there, he completed a cancer epidemiology internship at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Peeri moved to North Texas in 2018 to pursue doctoral studies with HSC.

His interests in health disparities in cancer research were first sparked by HSC’s annual Texas Conference on Health Disparities (TCHD), led by Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha. TCHD is one of the country’s 12 NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities. TCHD conducts research into health disparities, trains new investigators in health disparity research, conducts community outreach and collaborates inter-professionally to address some of the most important health concerns facing diverse populations today.

While at HSC, Peeri was involved in this conference and worked with Dr. Vishwanatha, HSC School of Biomedical Sciences student colleagues and his SPH mentor Dr. Menghua Tao to publish a manuscript on the connections between the social determinants of health and their influence on human biology through epigenetic changes, and their impact on health disparities.

Most recently, Peeri collaborated with SPH associate professor Dr. Uyen-Sa D. T. Nguyen on other projects addressing potential, modifiable risk factors for lung cancer, in the hopes of preventing this disease.

In his new fellowship program, Peeri will study the risk factors for colorectal cancer in Southwestern Nigeria, as well as health disparities related to endometrial cancer on a broader, global basis.
“It’s quite an honor to receive this fellowship with such a prestigious institute as Sloan Kettering, and especially to work with a researcher so passionate and motivated to reduce health disparities as Dr. Du,” Peeri said.

While Peeri feels he has established comfortable roots in North Texas during his time at HSC, he is also looking forward to this new move.

“I was actually born in New York and lived there until I was about 13, so there’s still some familiarity for me. My parents lived in the city for over 20 years and have a lot of additional insight to share as I get settled,” he said.

“At some point down the road, I would love to return to Texas if the opportunity is there. Right now, though, it’s a pretty exciting time for this next step in my learning, research and career exploration. I appreciate all that HSC has done to help me get here.”