Associate Professor
Division of Preventive Medicine

Contact Information:

Medical Towers 637
1717 11th Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Phone: (205) 934-3722
Fax: (205) 934-4262

Research Interests

  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer Prevention and Control
  • Nutrition and Cancer
  • Obesity

Current Research Projects

P30DK56336 (Desmond) 06/01/2017 – 05/31/2022

UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) Biostatistics Core

The objective of the NORC is to foster a multidisciplinary approach to basic, clinical, and translational research focusing on an understanding of factors underlying nutrition and obesity-related health problems. Overall, the Biostatistics Core (BC) serves as the focal point from which NORC investigators draw statistical expertise for the design, management and analysis of nutrition-related research projects. The specific aims of the BC are to: 1) Coordinate and manage statistical activities in the NORC to ensure that investigators have ready access to statistical consultation and support; 2) Provide statistical consultation on study design and research proposal development; 3) Provide statistical analyses for NORC projects including statistical genetics; 4) Participate in teaching and training activities of the NORC; and 5) Develop methodologies for novel experimental designs and analyses. Dr. Desmond is Director of the BC for NORC.

R25CA76023 (Waterbor) 09/01/2015 – 08/30/2020

UAB Cancer Research Experiences for Students (CaRES)

The long-term goal of the CaRES Program is to motivate participating UAB biomedical graduate students and medical students as well as students in other select institutions to pursue careers in cancer research. The short-term goals of CaRES are to furnish interested students the support needed to undertake a short cancer research experience under the guidance of the UAB CCC faculty and to furnish these faculty capable students who can enhance their research productivity. Dr. Desmond assists with statistical analyses and manuscript development for trainees and is the Director of Student Research.

R01DK096388 (Gower) 04/01/2013-03/31/2018

Race-Adiposity Interactions Regulate Mechanisms determining Insulin Sensitivity

This project will address two gaps in knowledge that are a critical barrier to eliminating ethnic disparities in type 2 diabetes: 1) the importance of environmental (e.g., obesity) vs. inherent (genetic) factors in determining insulin sensitivity in African American and European Americans and 2) the relative contribution of muscle and liver to insulin sensitivity in lean and obese African Americans and European Americans. Dr. Desmond assists with statistical analysis and study design.

C60112049 (Desmond) 07/01/2017-06/30/2018

Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Coalition

An evaluation will be conducted of the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, plan and coalition. Findings will be incorporated into reports delivered to the Alabama Department of Public Health and CDC an annual basis.

1R01DK103863-01A1 (Dutton)

Fixed Versus Variable Energy Reduction During Behavioral Obesity Treatment

This project investigates two treatments for weight loss. One treatment uses a fixed calorie diet and the other uses a variable calorie diet to compare the effects on reductions in weight loss and other biological, behavioral, and psychosocial outcomes. Dr. Desmond assisted with the study design and randomization and will assist with progress reports, data analysis and manuscript preparation.

MRSG-13-156-01 – CPPB (Pekmezi)

Physical Activity to Reduce Cancer Risk and Related Health Disparities

The goal of this project is to test Home-based, Individually-tailored Physical activity Print (HIPP) interventions for African American women in the Deep South. Dr. Desmond assists with design, randomization and statistical analysis.

Educational Background

  • Purdue University, BS Biology, 1979, West Lafayette, IN
  • Purdue University, DVM Veterinary Medicine, 1983, West Lafayette, IN
  • Georgetown University, MS Biostatistics & Epidemiology, 1993, Washington, DC
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, PhD Epidemiology, 1996, Birmingham, Alabama

Professional Activities

  • Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Coalition, Evaluation Chair (2005-present)
  • Mentor for Minority Health Research Center Scholar Program (2010-2011)
  • Nutrition Obesity Research Center (Biostatistics Core Director, 2006-present)
  • Comprehensive Cancer Center (Associate Scientist)
  • Post-doctoral Fellow in Cancer Prevention and Control, 1993-1996, UAB
  • Reviewer: Obesity, Annals of Surgical Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Cancer, Chest, Melanoma Research, American Journal of Medicine, Journal of Gastroenterology, and many others.


  • Phi Kappa Phi (1997)
  • Delta Omega (1997)
  • William Bailey Award in Cancer Prevention and Control, 1996 UAB Cancer Center Retreat