Tarah Ballinger, M.D.
535 Barnhill Drive
Indianpolis, IN 46202
Phone: (317) 944-3553
Research Program Membership
Assistant Professor of Clincial Medicine
Department of Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology
IU School of Medicine
My overarching research goal is to better understand the relationship between body composition, specifically bone and lean and fat tissue, with cancer incidence, outcomes, and side effects of cancer directed therapies, with a focus on breast cancer survivors. In particular, while a large organ system, muscle tissue is relatively underexplored in the pathogenesis of breast cancer and is affected by a large portion of our current therapies. I have recently rewritten a study of the effect of bariatric surgery on breast tissue, which will lead to a better understanding of how changes in body composition affect biomarkers of breast cancer pathogenesis. I am currently preparing a manuscript for submission of an observational study of the effect of primary breast cancer therapies on body composition, strength, and energy expenditure. I have written a currently active clinical trial of an intervention to improve energy expenditure among breast cancer survivors. I am working on developing concepts in collaboration with the lab of Theresa Guise to discover mechanisms of aromatase inhibitor musculoskeletal side effects, and possible therapeutic interventions. In addition, we are developing a clinical protocol evaluating low intensity vibration as a non-pharmacologic intervention to improve bone density and muscle function in patients taking aromatase inhibitors. Finally, I plan to evaluate whether changes in body composition effect outcomes in several ongoing or previously completed clinical trials of anti-estrogen therapy in breast cancer, in both the curative and the metastatic setting. As an early investigator, this body of work will allow me to create collaborative working relationships and discover hypotheses leading to larger clinical trials and funding.
Fellowship - Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202 06/2017
Residency - Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 06/2015
M.D. - Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 05/2012