Andy Khamoui Accepted to NCI-Funded TREC Training program

UpdateCongratulations to Andy Khamoui, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, for his acceptance into the 4th Annual Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Training Workshop . This prestigious training, co-hosted by Yale University and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is funded by a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Only 20% of applicants are accepted as fellows into this competitive training program, a five-day in-person course (held through Zoom this year), and a year-long mentorship from esteemed researchers that aims to develop the next generation of research leaders in energy balance and cancer. TREC is an extension of the pivotal NCI TREC Initiative, a decades-long initiative that sought to unravel the connection between obesity and cancer biology. 

Khamoui, who also serves as associate faculty in the FAU Integrative Biology graduate program, and as a member of FAU’s Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH), is the only fellow chosen from the state of Florida among a cadre of top junior investigators. Khamoui studies cancer cachexia, a life-threatening complication of cancer that is characterized by severe weight loss, skeletal muscle dysfunction, physical frailty, and intolerance to anti-cancer treatment. Despite accounting for an estimated 20-30% of cancer-related deaths, cachexia remains a source of frustration for both patients and family members alike due to limited treatment options. As part of the TREC cohort, Khamoui is moving one step closer to his goal of better understanding cancer cachexia and providing new avenues of supportive care and treatment for the millions of patients that are fighting cancer.

How does this training support your research?

“This training program allowed me to cultivate relationships with internationally renowned faculty and peers with shared interests in energetics and cancer. Having access to this network of outstanding scientists will allow me to form transdisciplinary research teams that can better address provocative questions in the field, and contribute to improved cancer control.”

What was the most interesting part of TREC training?

“I appreciated hearing about grantsmanship from the TREC faculty, who all have a long history of successfully obtaining funding from NCI. I also appreciated hearing from several NCI program directors on navigating through this process, which is a major hurdle for an early-stage investigator such as myself. Lastly, it was a pleasure to listen to stories from patient advocates and cancer survivors, to remind us that our research activities play an important role in shaping policy and should ultimately improve the quality of care. Moving forward, I hope that being a part of the TREC family will allow me to better contribute to cancer research at FAU.”