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Our Research

Our research is focused on the molecular and global epidemiology of cancers of the head and neck, thyroid, endometrium, ovary, lung, testis, and colorectum. The goals of our research are to identify genetic and lifestyle risk factors for cancer, and to evaluate the long-term health effects among cancer survivors.

Research Projects include

Utah Cancer Survivors Study 
There are over 100,000 cancer survivors in Utah, with an additional 11,000 Utahns diagnosed with cancer each year. The aim of this study is to learn about the long term health effects and quality of life experience of cancer survivors. Although the immediate side effects of cancer treatment are known, less is known for effects that may occur years after cancer treatment.

Utah Arches

cancer survivors

Epidemiology of Testicular Cancer in Utah 
The testicular cancer incidence rate in Utah is one of the highest in the US. The aims of this study are: 1) to investigate the testicular cancer trends for the Utah population, 2) to examine prenatal and perinatal factors as possible risk factors for testicular cancer, and 3) to study survival, and incidence of late effects among testicular cancer patients in Utah.

Head and Neck Cancer Susceptibility Genes
Each year in the world, 600,000 individuals are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, which includes cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx.  Genetic variants in alcohol metabolism genes have been identified as head and neck cancer susceptibility genes, but the role of other genes is unclear.  In this study we will exome sequence 200 familial head and neck cancer cases, apply case-control mutation screening to the candidate predisposition genes identified in 2,000 cases and 2,000 controls, and assess whether the genetic risks differ by subsite and epidemiologic risk groups. 

Papilloma Virus


International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium
The INHANCE consortium is a collaboration of research groups leading large molecular epidemiology studies of head and neck cancer. We aim to improve the understanding of the causes and mechanisms of head and neck cancer. We are currently developing the first risk prediction models for HNC and for oral cavity, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal, and laryngeal cancer. (http://www.inhance.utah.edu)

Nose Throat Titles

wine and beer

Multicenter Head and Neck Cancer Case-Control Study in East Asia
In East Asia, 68,500 individuals are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year. Approximately 62% of men and 6% of women smoke tobacco in East Asia, but the incidence rates of head and neck cancer are low. The aim of the study is to understand the role of lifestyle and environmental factors (tobacco, alcohol, indoor air pollution, green tea), genetics and HPV infection in the development of head and neck cancer in Asia. (http://www.interchange.utah.edu/)


green tea

Lung Cancer Case-Control Study in Nepal
Of the 1.3 million cases of lung cancer estimated to occur each year worldwide, 672,000 cases occur in low and middle income countries (LMC). Lung cancer is the most common cancer among men and the third most common cancer among women in Nepal. This case-control study is designed to investigate the lung cancer risk profile in a LMC, exposure biomarkers and genetic susceptibility.

Nepal temple
Photo by Nila Newsom, Shutterstock.com

Nepal landscape