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Faculty Spotlight: Assistant Professor Ronald Eldridge, PhD, MPH

Dr. Eldridge is a cancer epidemiologist by training. He received his B.S. from Loyola University Chicago in 2008, his MPH from the Rollins School of Public Health in 2010, and his PhD from Emory University in 2014. Prior to joining the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Dr. Eldridge was a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.

Briefly, tell us about a research project you’re working on...

I am working on identifying unique metabolic signatures, also known as metabolites, in the blood of a head and neck cancer patient which would inform us on that patient’s survival and quality of life.  To do this, I am collaborating with a research team in the School of Medicine to measure tens of thousands of blood metabolites by a process called high-resolution metabolomics.  Most of these metabolites will not be informative.  It is my job to use complex statistical equations and machine learning algorithms to identify the informative ones – the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.

What is one thing you hope your work can offer humanity by the end of your career?

It is my hope that knowledge we gain from studying metabolic signatures in these cancer patients can one day be used clinically to help future patients. With more knowledge we can improve and personalize treatment decisions, ultimately extending life and improving quality of life.

If you could go back in time and offer yourself some advice early in your career, what would you say?

It never hurts to improve on your communication skills (e.g., writing, oral presenting).

What do you enjoy most about being at Emory Nursing?

The collegiality of the faculty and staff. Even though I am not a nurse, I felt very welcomed. Faculty were interested in my research and how I could fit into the school.

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