The focus of my research is to understand how obesity contributes to the progression of cancer. My laboratory studies how adipokines and cytokines from adipose tissue influence the progression and metastatic potential of tumors, particularly in women with triple-negative breast disease, a recognized health disparity in West Virginia. The translational aspects of this research are directed at identifying which inflammatory markers are important in cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors. Our laboratory is funded by the WVCTSI (National Institute of General Medical Sciences/NIH, U54GM104942) to explore specific gene activators that come from adipose tissue using genomic technologies. Given the high rates of obesity and breast cancer mortality in our Appalachian population, there is a need to study the obesity-related health risks in order to improve prognosis.