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Discovery of Novel Risk and Causative Factors for Cancer investigators

Wendie Berg, MD, PhD
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
300 Halket St.
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: (412) 641-1635
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Risk assessment and breast density
  • Supplemental screening for breast cancer based on risk
  • Comparative effectiveness of new technologies in breast imaging
  • Shear wave elastography to reduce false positives on screening breast ultrasound
  • Correlation of shear wave elastography with prognostic factors and treatment response
  • Comparison of tomosynthesis and ultrasound for cancer detection
  • Comparison of molecular breast imaging and MRI for contralateral screening in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer
Brenda Diergaarde, PhD
UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Ave, Suite 4C
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-623-5891
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • cancer epidemiology
  • genetic variation
  • diet
  • lifestyle
  • cancer prevention
  • biomarkers
  • lung cancer
  • head and neck cancer

Dr. Diergaarde's research examines the role of diet, lifestyle and genetic variation in the development, progression and treatment of cancer, including cancers of the lung, head and neck, colon, ovaries and breast, and aims to identify markers for risk stratification, early detection and response to treatment. She is currently Co-Leader of Project 2 of the UPCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer. This project seeks to establish the relationship between vitamin D exposure, pulmonary inflammation and lung cancer risk and so provide strong rationale for a vitamin D-based approach to lung cancer prevention. She is also Leader of Project 1 of the UPCI SPORE in Head and Neck Cancer. Using data and samples from a large, clinic-based case-control study, this project investigates the role of genetic variation and gene-environment interactions in the development, progression and treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Jing Hu, PhD
5117 Centre Avenue, Suite 2.32B
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Protein kinases and phosphatases
  • post-translational modifications
  • sumoylation
  • histone deacetylases
  • cancer biology
Robert Schoen, MD, MPH
PUH - Mezz. 2 - C Wing
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC)
  • flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • acceptability and implementation of CRC screening
  • surveillance colonoscopy
  • relationship of insulin/insulin-like growth factors to adenomatous polyps and CRC
David Whitcomb, MD, PhD
Mezzanine Level
C-Wing-PUH 200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Mechanisms of complex disorders including acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer
Jian-Min Yuan, MD, PhD
UPMC Cancer Pavilion
5150 Centre Avenue - Suite 4C Office 470
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-864-7889
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Gene-environment interaction in cancer etiology
  • cancer biomarkers
  • cancer risk prediction
  • dietary chemopreventive agents
  • cancer epidemiology
  • cancer prevention
  • clinical trials

Dr. Yuan is a cancer epidemiologist with extensive experience in research on cancer etiology and prevention. Dr. Yuan is Principal Investigator of the Shanghai Cohort Study and the Singapore Chinese Health Study, two population-based prospective cohorts of more than 80,000 Chinese men and women with available baseline blood and urine samples with more than 25 years of active follow-up for cancer and other major health outcomes.

Utilizing these two large cohort resources coupled with a biomarker approach, Dr. Yuan and his research team have made several noteworthy contributions to the field of cancer epidemiology including (1) dietary aflatoxins as human hepatocarcinogens, (2) dietary isothiocyanates, a group of phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables, as potential chemopreventive agents against lung cancer development, and (3) urinary biomarkers of nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as risk predictors for lung cancer in smokers.


Dr. Yuan also has extensive experience in designing and conducting randomized, double-blind intervention studies on cancer prevention. Dr. Yuan is leading the effort to conduct a randomized, double-blind phase II clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of dietary 2-phenethyl isothiocyanates (PEITC) supplementation on reduction of risk markers for lung cancer in smokers. In addition, Dr. Yuan, collaborating with Dr. Mindy Kurzer, his former colleague at the University of Minnesota, is conducting a randomized, double-blind phase II clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of oral supplementation of green tea extracts (Polyphenon E) on reduction of risk markers for breast cancer in women.

Jane Cauley, DrPH
130 De Soto Street, A533 Crabtree Hall
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Breast cancer
  • epidemiology
  • sex hormones
  • osteoporosis
Dr. Cauley's primary research interest is the epidemiology of osteoporosis, osteoporosis treatment and the consequences of osteoporosis in both men and women. She also has a major interest in breast cancer and served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology Writing Group about the use of bisphosphonates in women with breast cancer. Her other research has focused on women's health and aging, falls, the interaction between endogenous and exogenous hormones, risk factors, inflammation, and disease outcomes. She examines the physical and psychological changes that occur in postmenopausal women.
James Herman, MD
Hillman Cancer Center, 2.18d
Pittsburgh PA
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Lung cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • tumor suppressor genes
  • epigenetics
  • biomarkers
  • transcription factors
  • early detection
  • cancer prognosis
Hung Luu, MD, PhD
Francesmary Modugno, PhD, MPH
Evelyn Talbott, DrPH, MPH
A526 Crabtree Hall
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-624-3074
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Environmental epidemiology
Dr. Talbott's areas of expertise are in environmental and cardiovascular epidemiology. Dr. Talbott has worked closely with both state and local health departments to conduct health studies investigating potential linkage of environmental exposures and health effects.
David Wilson, MD, MPH
5150 Centre Ave. Ste. 4c
Pittsburgh PA
Phone: 412-687-3355
Research Interests and Keywords:
  • Lung cancer screening, chemoprevention, diagnosis, staging and treatment
  • COPD
  • pulmonary medicine

Dr. Wilson's research interests include: lung cancer screening and chemoprevention, diagnosis, staging and treatment; COPD, especially as it relates to lung cancer; occupational lung diseases; and general pulmonary medicine.