• Aug 07 2023

White House Selects KL2 Scholar for Inaugural Cancer Moonshot Cohort

Photo of Laurie McLouth, a young white woman with straight, shoulder-length light brown hair. She's wearing a light gray blazer with an army green shirt, and smiling at the camera. Behind her is a beige wall and a window.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2023) – The inaugural cohort of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Scholars includes University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researcher Laurie McLouth, Ph.D.

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

In addition to her appointment with the UK Markey Cancer Center, McClouth is an assistant professor UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science, primary faculty in UK’s Center for Health Equity Transformation, and a KL2 Career Development Award Scholar with the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science .

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.

As a Cancer Moonshot Scholar, McLouth receives a five-year research grant, which will support her research on improving patient mental health and quality of life during advanced lung cancer treatment through supportive oncology and cancer care delivery interventions that will reach people from rural and underserved areas.

"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. “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.”

Her innovative intervention research integrates positive psychology with supportive oncology, developing multilevel approaches to address patient, clinician, and system-level barriers to high quality cancer care. To speed translation into clinical practice and support health 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.

With Moonshot Scholars R01 grant, McLouth 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; Kentucky has the nation's highest rate of lung cancer incidence. 

She says that the KL2 Career Development provided crucial training and opportunity to advance her research program.

"As part of my KL2, I completed advanced training in grant writing, as well as attended workshops and conferences that sharpened my grant writing skills and my science. I also had the opportunity to participate in the KL2 Scholar Exchange with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The conversations I had with faculty there deeply enriched my scholarship and thinking. Having protected time on the KL2 to pursue these critical training opportunities has been instrumental to my success," McLouth said. 

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 more about their funded projects at https://cancer.gov/moonshotscholars.



by Elizabeth Chapin