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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Principal Investigators

All programs and branches

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  • Abnet, Christian C., Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Etiologic studies of esophageal and gastric cancers, with a focus on diet, environmental toxins, and the human microbiome.
  • Albanes, Demetrius, M.D.
    Nutritional and molecular determinants of prostate, lung, and other cancers. Focus on role of micronutrients, vitamin supplementation, and exposures related to energy balance and anthropometry.
  • Albert, Paul S., Ph.D.
    Complex modeling of correlated outcomes in biomedical sciences, including the analysis of longitudinal data, diagnostic testing, and data from biomarker studies
  • Almeida, Jonas S., Ph.D.
    Multidisciplinary research that combines systems biology, computational statistics, data science and software engineering for biomedical applications.
  • Alter, Blanche P., M.D., M.P.H.
    Inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, including Fanconi anemia, dyskeratosis congenita, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, and Shwachman-Diamond syndromes. Incidence and characteristics of cancer in each syndrome. Genotype and phenotype correlations with reference to cancer susceptibility.
  • Amundadottir, Laufey, Ph.D.
    gene mapping, functional analyses, pancreatic cancer,


  • Beane Freeman, Laura, Ph.D.
    Cancer risks associated with occupational and environmental exposures, including formaldehyde, drinking water contaminants, and those found in agriculture. Cancer types include non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cancers of the brain, skin, lip, stomach, and prostate.
  • Berndt, Sonja I., Pharm.D., Ph.D.
    Genetic epidemiology of cancer, particularly prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and colorectal neoplasia; genetic architecture of anthropometric traits; molecular biomarkers related to cancer.
  • Berrington de González, Amy, D.Phil.
    Risk of radiation-associated tumors after diagnostic and therapeutic medical radiation exposure. Etiology of breast and thyroid cancer.
  • Brown, Kevin, Ph.D.
    Melanoma, genome-wide association studies, familial linkage studies, RNAi, cancer therapeutics.


  • Cahoon, Elizabeth K., Ph.D., M.H.S., S.M.
    Dr. Cahoon’s research aims to uncover new, potentially modifiable factors that impact the effects of ultraviolet radiation on skin cancer risks and to expand and advance the assessment of cancer in relation to ionizing radiation exposure
  • Camargo, Maria Constanza, Ph.D.
    Epidemiologic studies of gastric and esophageal cancers that have potential application for screening and prevention.
  • Chanock, Stephen J., M.D.
    Investigation of the genetic architecture of cancer susceptibility; Characterization of the scope of genetic mosaicism and its contribution to cancer risk ; Determination of how germline variation informs our understanding of somatic alterations in cancer.
  • Chaturvedi, Anil K., Ph.D.
    Role of HPV in the etiology of head and neck cancers, natural history of head and neck cancer precursors, inflammation and cancer risk, role of inflammation in the etiology of lung cancer and other smoking-associated cancers.
  • Choi, Jiyeon, Ph.D.
    Dr. Choi’s research focuses on understanding genetic susceptibility to melanoma and lung cancer.
  • Clarke, Megan A., Ph.D., M.H.S.
    Dr. Clarke conducts research combining molecular, clinical, and population-based approaches to address etiology, prevention, and early detection of anogenital, cervical, and endometrial cancers.
  • Cook, Michael B., Ph.D.
    Research focuses on the epidemiology of esophageal adenocarcinoma and prostate cancer.


  • Dawsey, Sanford M., M.D.
    Esophageal and gastric cancers: prevention and control, etiologic studies, especially in high-risk populations, and development of clinically useful techniques for early detection and treatment.
  • Dean, Michael, Ph.D.
    Inherited (germline) genetic variation, somatic mutations in tumors, and the combined effect of both on cancer risk, progression, and response to therapy.


  • Engels, Eric A., M.D., M.P.H
    HIV- and AIDS-associated cancers. Solid organ transplant-related cancers. Cancers associated with other immune-related conditions.


  • Freedman, Neal D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Multidisciplinary studies of liver, esophageal, and gastric cancers; tobacco with cancer.
  • Friesen, Melissa, Ph.D.
    Development and validation of retrospective exposure assessment of occupational risk factors to minimize exposure misclassification in epidemiologic studies of cancer.


  • Gadalla, Shahinaz, Ph.D., M.B.Bch.
    Dr. Gadalla’s research interests focus on the role of genetic factors in cancer etiology, as well as identifying genetic and environmental risk factors among individuals at high risk of developing cancer.
  • Gail, Mitchell H., M.D., Ph.D.
    Studies of breast and gastric cancer etiology and risk assessment. Statistical methods for observational and experimental studies, including design and analysis of genetic epidemiologic studies.
  • García-Closas, Montserrat, M.D., Dr.P.H.
    Use of exposure assessment and biomarkers in large epidemiological studies to investigate of the causes of breast and bladder cancers
  • Gierach, Gretchen L., Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Etiology of hormonally-related female cancers. Molecular epidemiology of mammographic density and breast cancer.
  • Goldstein, Alisa M., Ph.D.
    Genetic epidemiology of cancer, integrating epidemiologic, clinical, and molecular approaches. Developing and evaluating methods to examine gene-environment interactions in complex diseases.
  • Graubard, Barry I., Ph.D.
    Use of national surveys and other types of population based-studies for conducting epidemiologic and risk factor surveillance studies related to the incidence of and mortality from cancer. Statistical methods for design and analysis of observational and randomized studies with complex sample designs.


  • Hofmann, Jonathan, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Evaluating the role of agricultural exposures in the etiology of multiple myeloma and other cancers, understanding the biological mechanisms that influence the development and progression of multiple myeloma, and investigating the etiology of renal cell carcinoma


  • Jones, Rena, Ph.D., M.S.
    Application of Geographic Information Systems and novel approaches to assess environmental exposures, especially air and water pollutants, and identifying and clarifying how these exposures may cause cancer.


  • Katki, Hormuzd A., Ph.D.
    Predicting cervical cancer risk. Estimating absolute risks from studies nested within cohorts. Efficient study designs for comparing diagnostic tests. Methodology for clinical genetics.
  • Kitahara, Cari Meinhold, Ph.D.
    Cancer risks associated with occupational exposure to low-dose radiation from emerging medical practices and procedures, and etiology of radiation-associated cancers, including potential effect modifiers. Cancer sites include brain (glioma) and thyroid.
  • Koshiol, Jill, Ph.D
    Infections and inflammation in association with hepatobiliary cancers
  • Koutros, Stella, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Evaluation of occupational exposures as potential risk factors for cancer; exposure assessment and molecular studies within highly exposed populations to identify and clarify the biological mechanisms underlying chemical-induced carcinogenesis; and gene-environment interaction. Specific exposures include organophosphate insecticides, agricultural pesticides, acrylonitrile, diesel exhaust.
  • Kreimer, Aimée R., Ph.D
    Epidemiology of human papillomaviruses (HPV) infection and resultant cancers at multiple anatomic sites, including the oropharynx, cervix, and anus.


  • Lan, Qing, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Molecular epidemiology studies of indoor air pollution and lung cancer, molecular epidemiology studies of benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, and genetic susceptibility of non-hodgkin lymphoma
  • Landi, Maria T., M.D., Ph.D.
    Association and linkage approaches in genetic epidemiology of cutaneous malignant melanoma, genetic factors of lung cancer and smoking, health consequences of dioxin exposure.
  • Lee, Choonsik, Ph.D.
    Organ radiation dose estimations for diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures using computer simulations of human anatomy and radiation-generating machines.
  • Little, Mark, D.Phil.
    Low-dose radiation and cancer risk, high-dose radiation and cancer risk, modeling of radio-biological processes.
  • Liu, Danping, Ph.D.
    Developing new statistical methodologies for combining cross-sectional and longitudinal biomarker data for disease prediction, environmental health
  • Loftfield, Erikka, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Interplay between diet, metabolism, the microbiome and genetics and their effects on cancer risk. Leverages developing technologies to improve dietary assessment and gain insights into diet-cancer associations.


  • Machiela, Mitchell, Sc.D., M.P.H.
    Elucidating the role of germline genetic variation and somatic clonal mosaicism on the risk of developing pediatric and common adult cancers
  • Matthews, Charles, Ph.D.
    Etiologic studies of the role of physical activity and energy balance/obesity in cancer prevention and control, as well as the development of better methods for the assessment of active and sedentary behaviors in population-based research.
  • Mbulaiteye, Sam M., M.D.
    Unraveling the role of infections, immunity, and genetic factors in the etiology of Burkitt lymphoma, a malignancy that is endemic in Africa and whose risk is substantially increased in the setting of HIV/AIDS.
  • McGlynn, Katherine A., Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Molecular epidemiology of primary liver cancer and testicular cancer.
  • McReynolds, Lisa, M.D., Ph.D.
    Inherited predisposition to hematopoietic malignancies, investigating both germline and somatic mutations effect on disease and transplant outcomes.
  • Mirabello, Lisa, Ph.D.
    Osteosarcoma etiology and risk factors and carcinogenic HPV genomics
  • Moore, Steven C., Ph.D.
    The role of physical activity and obesity in the development of cancer; diet biomarkers; metabolomics studies.
  • Morton, Lindsay M., Ph.D.
    Genetic susceptibility to second cancers. Treatment-related (radiography and chemotherapy) second primary gastrointestinal cancers, as well as cancers of the breast, cervix, and testis, retinoblastoma, and hematopoietic malignancies. Also second cancer risks in high-risk populations, such as recipients of solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplants.



  • Pfeiffer, Ruth M., Ph.D.
    Statistical methods for: genetic epidemiology, including power assessment of association studies, family data accounting for ascertainment , DNA pooling for joint genotype estimation, and lab data methods.
  • Prokunina-Olsson, Ludmila, Ph.D.
    Dr. Prokunina-Olsson explores the connections between genome-wide association studies (GWAS) -identified genetic susceptibility variants and molecular phenotypes of importance for cancer. Some of her findings have resulted in translational and clinical applications.
  • Purdue, Mark P, Ph.D.
    Molecular investigations into the etiologies of lymphoid malignancies and renal cell carcinoma; exposure to chlorinated solvents and cancer risk.


  • Rabkin, Charles S, M.D.
    Molecular mechanisms of infection- and inflammation-related cancers, particularly for gastric cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a co-factor with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the established cause of most cancers of the noncardia stomach.
  • Rosenberg, Philip S., Ph.D.
    HIV/AIDS natural history. Viruses and cancer, including HCV, SV40, and KSHV. Meta-analysis in genetic epidemiology. Smoothing and nonparametric regression. Cancer susceptibility.
  • Rothman, Nathaniel, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S.
    Molecular epidemiology studies of populations exposed to occupational and environmental carcinogens.


  • Sampson, Joshua, Ph.D.
    Statistical methods for identifying biomarkers, such as genes, proteins, and metabolites, associated with cancer risk. Connecting risk factors with etiology of cancer. High dimensional data analysis.
  • Savage, Sharon A., M.D.
    Genetic and molecular epidemiology of telomere biology, pediatric cancer etiology, and inherited cancer predisposition syndromes.
  • Schiffman, Mark, M.D., M.P.H.
    Molecular epidemiology to study the natural history of human papillomavirus infection on the risk of cervical cancer. Applications for cervical cancer prevention.
  • Shi, Jianxin, Ph.D.
    Statistical genetics, with focus on copy number variantion analysis and pathway analysis; statistical analysis of microbiome; analysis of genetic variants related with P53 gene and pathway.
  • Shiels, Meredith, Ph.D.
    Cancer surveillance and data linkage studies; Cancer risk in HIV-infected people; tobacco and cancer
  • Shin, Yei Eun, Ph.D.
    Statistical methods for analyzing the risk of cancer and other health outcomes associated with complex spatiotemporal exposures, and improving the estimation or validation of risk models in two-phase designs of epidemiological studies such as case-cohort and nested case-control designs.
  • Silverman, Debra T., Sc.D., Sc.M.
    Environmental and host determinants of pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, and carcinogenicity of diesel exhaust.
  • Sinha, Rashmi, Ph.D.
    Interdisciplinary studies of the role of diet in cancer etiology, especially the role of meat, poultry, and fish in relation to cancer risk. Study of non-nutritive constituents of diet, e.g., carcinogens formed during the cooking process and chemopreventive properties of coffee. Methods studies. Evaluating the associations of cancer risk factors with the human microbiome.
  • Stewart, Douglas, M.D.
    Cancer risk and phenotype in the DICER1 syndrome and neurofibromatosis type 1. Gene identification in familial tumor-predisposition disorders.
  • Stolzenberg-Solomon, Rachael, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.
    Prospective studies of dietary and lifestyle factors, as well as nutritional and molecular biomarkers in relation to primarily gastrointestinal cancers, particularly pancreatic cancer.


  • Trabert, Britton, Ph.D.
    Dr. Trabert’s research interests concentrate on the role of exogenous and endogenous hormones in cancer risk, and the relationship between chronic inflammation and gynecologic cancers.


  • Vogtmann, Emily, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    1) The association between the human microbiota and cancer risk; 2) how human microbiota may mediate associations between exposures and cancer risk; and 3) risk factors for head and neck and lower gastrointestinal cancers.


  • Ward, Mary H., Ph.D.
    Environmental exposures (drinking water contaminants and pesticides) and exposure assessment using Geographic Information Systems. Etiology of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and gastric cancer.
  • Wentzensen, Nicolas, M.D., Ph.D.
    Etiology of cervical, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. HPV - related carcinogenesis. Discovery and translation of biomarkers for gynecological cancers. Gene methylation.


  • Yang, Rose, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Genetics of familial cutaneous malignant melanoma/dysplastic nevi syndrome and chordoma, and etiologic heterogeneity of breast cancer.
  • Yu, Kai, Ph.D.
    Statistical methods for genetic epidemiologic studies. Tree-based modeling for high dimensional data. Population genetics


  • Zhu, Bin, Ph.D.
    Developing and applying novel statistical methods to increase understanding of biological mechanisms underlying complex diseases, and studying the pattern and determinants of disease in human populations.