University of Utah
Department of Communication
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2022
Graduate Student Daniel Chavez-Yenter receives National Human Genomic Research Institute (NHGRI) Award
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Ph.D. candidate Daniel Chavez-Yenter was recently awarded the Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Transition Award for a Diverse Genomics Workforce (F99/K00) by the National Human Genomic Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institute of Health (NIH). This grant mechanism will assist Chavez-Yenter in his dissertation project, “Investigating Latinx populations’ attitudes, perceptions, and use of genomic testing." This is the first NIH training grant that the Department of Communication or the College of Humanities has ever received.
Chavez-Yenter explains that genetic tests have “already enabled genetic providers to improve health outcomes for many with increased screening recommendations, prevention efforts (chemoprevention), and behavioral change recommendations.” However, Chavez-Yenter argues that the use of genetic testing across various racial and ethnic groups, such as Latinx populations, has been understudied. In response, Chavez-Yenter’s dissertation will “empirically examine Latinx individuals’ experiences with genetic testing, their attitudes, and identify perceived facilitators and barriers to testing." His goal is to use the findings to develop strategies to empower and encourage more Latinx individuals to utilize genetic testing for health purposes.
The purpose of the NHGRI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Transition Award for a Diverse Genomics Workforce (F99/K00) is to support a defined pathway across career stages for talented graduate students from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences. It is anticipated that successful completion of this phased award program will provide students sufficient scientific and career development activities to set them on the path to becoming independent genomics researchers. The award will fund two more years of dissertation research for Chavez-Yenter, plus tuition, stipend, travel, and research funds. The award will eventually transition into a postdoctoral fellowship, which will provide further funding from the NHGRI following completion of his dissertation.