Associate Professor Joya Chandra - Department of Pediatrics Research, Childrens Cancer Hospital, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Joya Chandra, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Pediatrics Research at the Childrens Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where she began her independent faculty career in 2002. Dr. Chandra earned her doctorate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1998.  She then conducted two postdoctoral fellowships:  at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Joya’s research interests are centered around oxidative stress and its effects on cell signaling and cell death with an emphasis on experimental therapeutics. She is Director of the ON (Optimizing Nutrition) to Life Program at the Children’s Cancer Hospital, a nutrition research program which translates knowledge from cellular metabolic regulation to design nutrition strategies in order to optimize therapeutic outcomes and improve the quality of survivorship. She is co-Director of the Center for Energy Balance at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis. She has published over 60 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters, and has been recognized for her teaching and mentoring excellence. Recently she was awarded the Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest honor in the state of Texas for education at the university level.


For children ages 0‐19, cancer is the most common death by disease in the United States. Advances over the past two decades in combinatorial treatment strategies using chemotherapy have improved survival rates to over 80 per cent, and currently nearly 400,000 survivors of pediatric cancers are in the United States. However, both pediatric cancer patients and survivors face worse outcomes if they are obese or overweight. Children undergoing cancer treatment face higher rates of resistance to therapy if they are obese. In pediatric cancer survivors, obesity compounds the risk of second cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes already seen in these patients due to late effects of treatment. With obesity rates climbing steadily in children and adults, similar trends of increased obesity are being seen in newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients as well as in survivors.

Therefore obesity prevention and weight management in pediatric cancer patients and survivors is a goal which stands to benefit this population greatly. Both diet and physical activity are elements of energy balance, and modulation of both is most effective in reducing obesity. We have developed electronic resources and behavioral interventions for pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their families in order to improve outcomes for these individuals. Examples of recent clinical studies we have conducted include: (1) evaluation of a video game that promotes healthy diet and exercise in pediatric cancer patients and survivors; (2) delivery of a 10 week exercise and cooking intervention to obese children and their parents; and (3) a nutrition counseling intervention for pediatric leukemia patients delivered while patients are on steroid based chemotherapy. Data from all of these studies, as well as biomarker data on alterations in energy balance, will be discussed.


Monday, 25 July 2016


1:00pm – 2.00pm  


Room 4313, Oral Health Centre, UQ Herston campus

Promoting healthy lifestyles in pediatric cancer patients and survivors

Mon 25 Jul 2016 1:00pm2:00pm


Room 4313, Oral Health Centre, UQ Herston campus