Melinda Aldrich, MPH, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Thoracic Surgery, with a secondary appointment in the Division of Epidemiology within the Department of Medicine. Her research program focuses on predictors of both pulmonary function and lung cancer and she co-leads the TREAT Lung Cancer research team, an experienced multidisciplinary team with expertise in epidemiology, genetics, biostatistics, and lung cancer.
William Blot, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine, Associate Director for Population-Based Sciences, VICC. His research for over 40 years has focused on describing patterns of cancer in human populations and seeking to discover and evaluate environmental and host factors that contribute to cancer risk. He led a program of epidemiologic and biostatistical research at the National Cancer Institute for 20 years and left NCI in 1994 to co-found the International Epidemiology Institute, where he served as CEO. He currently leads the development of the Vanderbilt population-based research program in cancer. Dr. Blot has been continuously funded by NIH grants, and serves as a contact PI of the SCCS, which, with 86,000 participants aged 40-79 years, two-thirds African American, is the largest epidemiologic study undertaken to assess reasons for racial disparities in cancer incidence and mortality. He has mentored numerous junior faculty members and post-doctoral fellows.
Qiuyin Cai, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory. His research over the past 25 years has focused on investigating the contribution of host susceptibility and lifestyle factors in the etiology and outcome of cancer and other chronic diseases. He has been consistently funded by NIH and DOD since 2002, serving as the PI for 8 major research grants and as a key co-investigator for many other NIH-funded research grants.
Qi Dai, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, has 26 years of experience conducting large epidemiologic studies of cancer and other chronic diseases with a research focus primarily centered on investigation of nutrient-nutrient (e.g. magnesium, calcium and vitamin D) and gene-nutrition interactions. He has been the PI for five R01/U01 projects to investigate nutrient-phytochemical (i.e. antioxidants and polyphenols), nutrient-nutrient (i.e. magnesium and calcium), nutrient (i.e. magnesium and calcium)-gene, and phytochemical (i.e. polyphenols)-gene interactions in the etiology of colorectal neoplasia and breast cancer.
Todd Edwards, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies for the VUMC Epidemiology PhD Program, as well as the Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. His primary research interest is in mapping genetic mutations to traits in human populations using statistical tools, designing epidemiology studies, and relating molecular biology discoveries to clinical practice. He has also developed novel statistical methods for genetic association and next-generation resequencing studies. He is experienced in conducting genetic studies of complex traits, as well as working with electronic medical records data in BioVU. He is a member of the proposal review committee for BioVU access and an avid user of the resource, which is also available to MAGEC fellows.
Debra Friedman, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, E. Bronson Ingram Chair in Pediatric Oncology, and co-leader of the Cancer Health Outcomes and Control research program at VICC, directs the Research, Resources, Education, Advocacy, Clinical Care, Health Promotion (REACH) for Survivorship Program. Her research interests lie in cancer care delivery and outcomes for patients and survivors.
Xingyi Guo, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, and a secondary faculty member of the Department of Biomedical Information. He is the primary bioinformatician for multiple genetic epidemiologic studies and has led or played a critical role in multiple genetic epidemiologic and large genomics studies at the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center. Dr. Guo has solid training and extensive experience in multiple disciplines including bioinformatics, genetic epidemiology and functional genomics, solid knowledge of computational biology and extensive experience in performing integrative analyses for genetic and genomic data. He has worked on several NIH-funded genome-scale studies and performed bioinformatics analyses on whole genome sequencing, microarray/RNA-seq expression, ChIP-seq, and DNase-seq data with the goal of elucidating disease mechanisms in the cell biology, genetics and genomics fields. He has also performed an integrative analysis of RNA-seq, DNA methylation and somatic mutations to identify downstream dysregulated target genes that are affected by a recurrent somatic driver mutation in cancers. Currently, he is the PI for a transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) in colorectal cancer funded by NIH (R37CA227130-01A1, MERIT).
Douglas Heimburger, MD, MS, is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Education and Training in the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH). As an internist, physician nutrition specialist, and global health scientist, he directs VIGH’s education and training programs for Vanderbilt students and trainees, including the Global Health Track in Vanderbilt’s Master of Public Health Program. He has had continuous NIH support as PI or Co-PI for 30+ years, particularly for training in NCD research and global health capacity building, and is the Associate Program Director and joint PI for the MAGEC program. His research has focused on nutritionally-related non-communicable diseases, including nutritional factors in cancer prevention and the identification of causes of short- and long-term complications and comorbidities of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Krystle Kuhs, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology. Her research, focused on the prevention of virus-associated cancers, includes understanding oncogenic infections, vaccine development, and identification of biomarkers for the early detection of infection-associated cancers. She is a K12 grant holder and received several institutional grants. She will serve in the MAGEC program as a mentor-in-training.
Bingshan Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetic Statistics, has a research focus in developing statistical methods and computational tools for genetics and genomics studies and applying these tools for mapping genes associated with human diseases, including psychiatric disorders and cancer.
Loren Lipworth, ScD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology. Her research utilizes both large-scale population-based cohorts and electronic medical record databases. She is a Co-Investigator of the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a large prospective cohort study of over 86,000 primarily low income black and white participants from the southeastern United States, whose extensive data and biospecimen repository provide a unique resource for the study of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, including unexplained racial disparities. She is a Co-Investigator of several ongoing studies of obesity-related biomarkers and metabolite profiles associated with diabetes, cardiometabolic and renal traits, and cancer, as well as studies of lifestyle and genetic factors that contribute to the high incidence of end-stage renal disease in blacks and whites in the SCCS.
Jirong Long, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, is a genetic epidemiologist. Her research has primarily focused on the genetics of cancer and other chronic diseases. Recently, she has expanded her research to investigate the role of microbiota in cancer and diabetes risk. She has published more than 170 papers. She has served as PI/joint-PI or a key co-investigator for multiple genetic epidemiologic studies funded by NIH. Currently, she leads deep-sequencing data analysis for multiple NIH-funded research projects at the VEC.
Pierre Massion, MD, Professor of Medicine, is the director of the Thoracic Program, a co-leader of the Cancer Outcome Program and Director of the Early Detection and Cancer Prevention initiative at the VICC. His research focuses on applying novel genomic and proteomic technologies to identify and validate molecular biomarkers for cancer early diagnosis as well as for prediction of treatment efficacy, progression and prognosis of cancers. He is the PI of 3 U01 grants recently funded by NCI for biomarker discovery and validation. He is the PI of 5 active clinical studies in Clinicaltrials.gov and has mentored multiple students, fellows and junior investigators.
Harvey Murff, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include colorectal cancer screening and health disparities, chemoprevention of colorectal cancer, and the impact of genetic factors and dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids on inflammation and cancer risk. He is currently working on using n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce pre-term labor risk in pregnant smokers. Dr. Murff has received support for his research from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Murff is a practicing General Internist at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Maureen Sanderson, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Meharry Medical College (MMC), is the Senior Epidemiologist for the U54 Cancer Center Partnership between Meharry Medical College, VU, and Tennessee State University, and the Scientific Director for the Meharry CHC-CNP, both funded by the NCI. She has 12 years’ experience as PI for etiologic and intervention studies of prostate, breast, and cervical cancer funded by the NCI, NCMHD, Department of Defense and CDC conducted in South Carolina with a focus on African Americans and in South Texas with a focus on Mexican Americans.
Martha Shrubsole, PhD, Research Professor of Medicine, Director of the Vanderbilt Survey Research Shared Resource, has over 15 years of experience in conducting large-scale epidemiologic studies of cancer. A major focus of her research is to identify modifiable dietary factors and to understand carcinogenesis biomarkers, particularly one-carbon metabolism, epigenetic, microbiomial and inflammation biomarkers, in colorectal neoplasia risk.
Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, investigates independent and/or interactive effects of environmental exposures, lifestyle factors, and host susceptibility in the development of cancers, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease, as well as lifestyle and genetic determinants for breast cancer survival and quality of life among cancer survivors. She has been the Principal Investigator for multiple NIH-funded epidemiological studies, including two cohort studies--the Shanghai Men’s Health Study and Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a grant to develop a Vietnam Center of Research Excellence, and the MAGEC training program. She has published over 750 research papers or book chapters.
Staci Sudenga, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology whose research focus is on infections and infection-related cancers. Her research goal is to conduct clinical cohort studies to identify the biological mechanisms for which infections can cause cancer. She was recently awarded a K07 Career Development Award from the NCI to evaluate the potential biological importance of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in patients with pre-malignant anal lesions and anal cancer. She was also awarded a CCSG P30 supplement to evaluate the potential biological importance of immunosenescence and risk of lung cancer among HIV-positive and –negative individuals. She will examine whether immunosenescence in HIV-positive increases the risk for lung cancer at a younger age compared to older HIV-negative individuals.
Digna Velez-Edwards, PhD, is a genetic epidemiologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her primary research is focused on understanding the genetic determinants of racial disparities and the role of gene and environment interactions in the risk for complex diseases, with a specific interest in fibroproliferative disorders, with two concurrent R01 grants. She also has extensive experience both conducting and designing studies that utilize electronic medical record (EMR) data and BioVU data.
Gong Yang, MD, MPH, Research Professor of Medicine, has extensive experience in conducting large cohort studies of cancer epidemiology, nutritional epidemiology, and molecular epidemiology. He has served as the PI or a co-investigator for more than 10 NIH-funded research projects and authored or co-authored more than 260 publications. Currently, he is the PI of an R01 grant to investigate the role of estrogen and phytoestrogen in lung cancer development and prognosis.
Fei Ye, PhD, an Associate Professor of Biostatistics, is the Principal Investigator on two NCI/NHGRI supported projects and a Co-Investigator on a variety of NIH-supported projects, mainly in the areas of chronic diseases and cancer research. She has extensive experience in study design and the statistical analysis of clinical, epidemiological, and high-dimensional genomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, and proteomic studies (e.g., siRNA/shRNA, miRNA, microarray/NanoString gene expression, real-time PCR, metabolic, MALDI-TOF, and RNA-seq data).
Danxia Yu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor whose major research interests include epidemiology and prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and lifestyle; biomarkers and metabolomics in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and diet-gut microbiota interactions and host cardiometabolic health. She played an important role in an international lung cancer cohort consortium involving nearly two million study participants from the US, Europe, and Asia.
Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, is Chief of the Division of Epidemiology, Director of the VEC, and holder of the Anne Potter Wilson Chair in Medicine. He is a prominent epidemiologist and an NCI MERIT Award recipient. His research, currently supported by several NIH grants, is focused on the molecular, genetic, and nutritional epidemiology of cancer and other chronic diseases. He has authored or co-authored more than 800 publications. He has directed two large genetic research consortia in East Asians, including nearly 200,000 participants from over 40 studies that have identified more than 30 novel susceptibility loci/genetic variants for breast and colorectal cancers. He is the contact PI for a recently-funded large NCI signature project to investigate genetic susceptibility for breast cancer in women of African ancestry. He is the PI for the SWHS, co-PI for SCCS, and a key founding co-investigator of the SMHS. He also initiated several large epidemiological studies that are major research resources for the VEC.