The inaugural cohort of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Scholars includes University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researcher Laurie McLouth, Ph.D.

McLouth is one of 11 emerging leaders in cancer research and innovation selected as a scholar, the White House announced Aug. 3.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Moonshot Scholars Program was launched by President Biden last year to support early-career researchers and help build a cancer research workforce that better represents the diversity of America.

The recognition comes with a five-year research grant, which will support McLouth’s research aimed at improving patient mental health and quality of life during advanced lung cancer treatment. 

"It is an honor to be recognized as a Cancer Moonshot Scholar. The program demonstrates the transformative potential of diverse research perspectives in combating cancer across the cancer care continuum,” said McLouth, an assistant professor UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science. “I am joined by a tremendous team. Each person brings their own unique perspective and strengths and is equally committed to ensuring we train the next generation of cancer care researchers.”

The goal of McLouth’s research program is to improve the quality of life and quality of cancer care for people facing advanced cancer through supportive oncology and cancer care delivery interventions that will reach and benefit people from rural and underserved areas. Her innovative intervention research is integrating positive psychology into supportive oncology and developing multilevel approaches to address patient, clinician, and system-level barriers to high quality cancer care. To speed translation into clinical practice and support equity, she and her team design interventions that are informed by the perspectives and needs of people receiving or providing cancer care in both academic medicine and community oncology practice.

McLouth’s project supported by her five-year Moonshot Scholars R01 will test the efficacy of “Pathways,” a novel hope-enhancing intervention to support the personal goals, mental health, and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for advanced lung cancer.

McLouth is Primary Faculty in UK’s Center for Health Equity Transformation and a UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science KL2 Career Development Award Scholar.

The Cancer Moonshot Scholars program was developed to help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration Cancer Moonshot initiative’s goal of inspiring and supporting world-class scientists from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences.

The research projects supported by the awards will span the cancer care continuum and include basic research, population science, and clinical studies. The NCI intends to fund up to 30 additional Cancer Moonshot Scholars.

See the first 11 Cancer Moonshot Scholars and learn about their funded projects at