Exercise Oncology: Clinical Research Team

The clinical research team manages various aspects of the clinical trials in the Exercise Oncology Service. These tasks include protocol development, participant recruitment, data management, and study participation. Within the clinical research team is a group of exercise physiologists. They conduct all of the physiologic testing and are responsible for the day-to-day exercise programs for study participants.

Clinical Research Team

Diane Catalina

Diane Catalina

Clinical Research Supervisor

Cristi Ciolino

Cristi Ciolino

Clinical Research Manager

Robert D’Agostino

Robert D’Agostino

Research Study Assistant

Jenna Harrison

Jenna Harrison

Research Study Assistant

Klaudia Koziol

Klaudia Koziol

Research Study Assistant

Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee

Research Study Assistant

Kelly O'Brien

Kelly O'Brien

Research Project Coordinator

Exercise Physiology Team

Catherine Capaci

Catherine Capaci

Exercise Physiologist

Richard Happel

Richard Happel

Exercise Physiologist

Kereshmeh (Keri) Khoramabadi

Kereshmeh (Keri) Khoramabadi

Exercise Physiologist

Pictured: Meghan Michalski

Meghan Michalski

Exercise Physiologist Supervisor

Andrew Nixon

Andrew Nixon

Exercise Physiologist

Kylie Rowed

Kylie Rowed

Exercise Physiologist

Kurtis Stoeckel

Kurtis Stoeckel

Exercise Physiologist

Jillian Swamback

Jillian Swamback

Echocardiographer

Daniel Townend

Daniel Townend

Exercise Physiologist

15-093: Dose Response of Aerobic Training in Postmenopausal Women at High Risk for the Development of Breast Cancer​

This study is looking at the effect of different amounts of progressive exercise training on risk factors associated with developing breast cancer. These risk factors include exercise capacity, body weight, and body composition, as well as the expression of certain genes and levels of inflammatory factors in breast tissue. Previous studies have shown that more exercise may lower the risk of developing breast cancer. However, the best intensity and amount of exercise to cause this protective effect is not known. Similarly, how exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer is also not known. This study is designed to find out the optimal amount of exercise to change certain risk factors associated with developing breast cancer. We expect that exercise may change some but not all of these factors. This study is designed to find out which factors exercise changes, how much exercise changes these factors, and whether more exercise is associated with greater changes in these factors.

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15-178: Optimal Timing Trial: Randomized Trial of Supervised Aerobic Training During or After Chemotherapy for Operable Breast Cancer​

The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of aerobic exercise during and after chemotherapy for women who have been recently diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Previous studies have shown that aerobic exercise is a safe and tolerable activity for people with breast cancer. However, the best time to start an aerobic exercise training program is not known. This study is looking at the effects of aerobic exercise during and after chemotherapy. The results will be compared with the effects of completing no aerobic exercise at all.

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17-327: Exercise Exposure Data Collection in People Undergoing Genomic Profiling (Using MSK-IMPACT™)​

People are eligible to participate in this study if they have completed MSK-IMPACT genetic panel testing on protocol IRB#12-245 Genomic Profiling in Cancer Patients or IRB #06-107 Storage and Research Use of Human Biospecimens in the last three years. There is no exercise database at MSK, and the Exercise Oncology Service would like to create one. This database would collect information about tumor genetic results and individuals’ exercise history. A patient’s primary oncologist must approve of the program’s outreach to each person. There will be about 5,000 people taking part in this study.

For more information, contact the Exercise Oncology Service at 646-888-8103.


18-058: IIT: Integrative Profiling of Primary Breast Cancer on the Basis of Divergent Exercise Exposure​

Those eligible to participate in this study have breast cancer and are getting surgery for the removal of the tumor. Samples from both tumor and normal breast tissue will be analyzed and compared with the amount of self-reported exercise.

Previous studies have shown that higher levels of regular exercise are associated with, in general, a reduction in the primary risk of breast cancer as well as a lower risk of breast cancer coming back after treatment. However, how regular exercise may alter this risk is not known. This study is designed to find out how engaging in regular exercise (or not) alters the biology of breast tumors as well as the normal tissue surrounding the tumor. Findings from this initial study may guide the design of future studies that will examine how changes in exercise alter breast tumor biology. About 40 people will take part in this study at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

For more information, contact the Exercise Oncology Service at 646-888-8103.

15-147: Exercise Intensity Trial (EXCITE): A Randomized Trial Comparing the Effects of Linear Versus Nonlinear Aerobic Training in Women with Operable Breast Cancer​

The purpose of this study was to compare three approaches to exercise training in women with early-stage breast cancer who had completed all primary treatments (except hormone therapy, if appropriate). Prior research in women with early-stage breast cancer has shown that some treatments may have an adverse impact on physical fitness, leading to fatigue and poor quality of life. Supervised exercise training has been shown to reduce some of these side effects. However, all of the exercise programs have followed essentially the same approach. This study was designed to see if a different approach to exercise training was more effective than the conventional approach in use.


15-215: Lung Cancer Exercise Training Study: A Randomized Trial of Aerobic Training, Resistance Training, or Both in Postsurgical Lung Cancer Patients​

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of different types of exercise with stretching in people with lung cancer. Aerobic training has been shown to be beneficial in people with lung cancer. This study compared the effects — good or bad — of aerobic training alone, a combination of aerobic training and resistance training, resistance training alone, or progressive stretching on the fitness of people with lung cancer.


15-274:  Feasibility and Safety of Functional Performance Testing in People Undergoing Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation​

The purpose of this study was to see if exercise fitness testing was feasible and safe in people at least 21 years old who were scheduled to undergo a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Assessments in this study looked at body capacity before transplantation to see if these measures could help predict how people did after the transplant.

Interested in one of these clinical trials, or are you preparing for a baseline testing appointment? Brief descriptions of some of the tests that trials may require is below. If you have questions, call 646-888-8103.

Body Composition Scan

Body composition is assessed using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. DEXA uses a whole-body scanner and two different low-dose X-rays to read bone mass and soft tissue mass. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes to do a body scan. This test takes place at the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center or the Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion.This test requires fasting from food, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine for two hours before the test. Avoid strenuous activity for at least 12 hours before the test.

Fasting Research Blood Draw

The purpose of this blood draw is to measure certain circulating factors in the blood that may change because of exercise training. About 2 ounces of blood will be drawn. A portion of this blood is tested right away for a complete blood count, fasting glucose, and lipid values. The remaining blood is stored by Kryosphere, a company in North Carolina, and tested at a later point. Food, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine should be avoided for eight hours before a fasting blood draw. Snacks (such as granola bars) are on hand after all fasting assessments are completed, or bring a snack of your choice.

Arterial Stiffness

This test looks at the function and health of the blood vessels. While you are lying down, a penlike device is gently pressed to your neck, your wrist, the back of your ankle, and your upper leg. Food, tobacco, and caffeine should be avoided for three hours before the test, and alcohol for ten hours before. Avoid strenuous activity for at least 12 hours before the test.

Flow-Mediated Dilatation

This test uses ultrasound to assess the blood flow in the body. You lie quietly while a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm or leg. After five minutes, the blood pressure cuff is deflated. Food and alcohol should be avoided for eight hours before the test, and tobacco, caffeine, and strenuous activity for 12 hours before.

Pulmonary Function Test

This test measures how well the lungs take in and release air, and how well they move gases from the atmosphere into the body. After taking a deep breath, you exhale into a mouthpiece as hard and fast as you can. You do this several times for approximately 15 minutes. Avoid food for two hours before the test and strenuous activity for 12 hours before.

Exercise (Fitness) Test

The purpose of this test is to assess the efficiency of the entire cardiovascular system. This test is similar to a cardiac stress test. During this test, you begin by walking on a treadmill at a constant speed. The speed or incline is increased every one to two minutes. The test is stopped when you can no longer walk at the desired speed or you become too tired to walk — usually after 12 to 15 minutes.

To accurately measure your fitness level, the air that you breathe out during the exercise test is analyzed. You will wear a mouthpiece during the test. This transports the air you breathe out into the testing computer for analysis.

To ensure your safety during the test, the electrical activity of your heart is monitored using a 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG). Ten EKG electrodes (sticky pads) are placed on specific areas of your body to see how your heart responds to exercise.

Avoid food for two hours, tobacco and caffeine for three hours, alcohol for six hours, and strenuous activity for 12 hours before your test.

Echocardiogram at Rest and After Exercise

You have this test right before you start the exercise fitness test and again right after finishing the exercise fitness test. Echocardiogram uses ultrasound to take images of the heart. These images can help identify changes in heart function. During this test, you lie on your left side while a sonographer places a wand over your chest. The wand has a small amount of gel on the end, which will not harm your skin. This gel helps produce clearer pictures. The wand sends high-frequency sound waves to your heart that are sent back to the ultrasound machine as moving images. You may be asked to change position during the test so different areas of the heart can be seen. You may also be asked to hold your breath at times.

Exercise Questionnaire

This questionnaire asks about your recent physical activity.