In 2001, Dr. Siegfried and colleagues at UPCI received a five-year, $12 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for lung cancer research from the National Cancer Institute.
Under the grant, Dr. Siegfried is studying the factors related to women’s increased susceptibility to lung cancer. She is examining the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor – a gene linked to abnormal cell growth in the lung that appears to be more active in women than men. Her research indicated that the gene may be regulated by estrogen and nicotine, and may be a way to explain why women are more likely to develop lung cancer, even when they are nonsmokers or smoke less than men.
Among her research accomplishments, Dr. Siegfried has identified growth factors important in the growth of nonsmall cell tumors and she has shown that neuroendocrine peptides such as gastrin-releasing peptide and neuromedin B are important regulators for nonsmall cell tumors in the lung.
Dr. Siegfried received her doctorate in pharmacology from Yale University. She joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in 1988 after a six-year tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Research Center.
Dr. Siegfried was honored with an appointment to the Lung Cancer Review Panel for the State of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program in 2000, and received the 15th Annual Alton Ochsner Foundation Award Relating Smoking and Health in recognition of her contribution to understanding the enhanced susceptibility of women to lung cancer.