Melinda C. Aldrich, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Thoracic Surgery
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine
Dr. Aldrich's research focuses on identifying genetic and environmental risk factors for lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases in diverse racial/ethnic populations. Her interests include understanding racial differences in lung cancer incidence and survival outcomes, and she is particularly interested in leveraging population substructure to elucidate the genetic epidemiology of lung cancer. Dr. Aldrich's interests also include precision medicine and utilization of biobanks for biomedical research.
The Aldrich Lab is focused on understanding why there are differences in lung cancer risk and survival among different racial/ethnic populations. We focus on identifying genetic and non-genetic risk factors for lung cancer and related phenotypes, such as pulmonary function. We are building an African American collaborative study to investigate mechanisms driving lung cancer racial disparities. Gene-environment and gene-gene interactions may explain some of the differences in disease between racial/ethnic groups. We work with the Southern Community Cohort Study, ILCCO, and the Vanderbilt DNA biobank (BioVU) and other collaborators to investigate lung cancer. The Aldrich Lab is also investigating the genetics of immunotherapy treatment among lung cancer patients. Recent collaborations are focused on addressing inequities in lung cancer screening, particularly for underserved populations such as African Americans and rural populations. Additional ongoing work includes investigating the genetics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the population genetics of African Americans and other racially diverse populations.