A Joint NIEHS and NCI Workshop
Thursday & Friday, June 29 – 30, 2023
11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT

Molecular Signatures of Exposure in Cancer: A Joint NIEHS and NCI Workshop

Workshop Purpose

The workshop assessed the current state of the science of using signatures from “omic” data types to link environmental exposures to cancer and explore potential uses of such signatures of carcinogenic exposure to aid cancer prevention. The meeting brought together computational biologists, epidemiologists, exposure scientists, and cancer researchers to identify key questions, knowledge gaps and opportunities for the field. Presentations were concept-oriented with selective use of scientific data to illustrate key points. While the meeting focused on linking exposure signatures to cancer, a range of technologies, models, and exposures were considered.

The workshop was organized by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer and the Environment Working Group (CEWG). The goal of the CEWG was to promote sustained collaboration between NIEHS and NCI at the interface of cancer and the environment.

Workshop Recordings

Day 1: June 29, 2023

Day 2: June 30, 2023

Workshop Goals

  1. Defined the state of the science of using molecular signatures to link environmental exposures to cancer.
  2. Prioritized the most pressing needs and opportunities that if addressed will augment progress in identifying molecular signatures of exposure in cancer.
  3. Explored potential applications of using molecular signatures of exposure to improve cancer prevention.


The final agenda is linked at the top of this page. Workshop sessions covered the following areas:

  1. Mutational signatures of exposure in cancer.
  2. Other data types as signatures of exposure in cancer.
  3. Computational challenges and integrating multi-omics to identify signatures.
  4. Challenges in tracking signatures of exposures.
  5. Population-based cancer studies.
  6. Workshop summary and future directions.

Workshop Co-Chairs:

  • Hannah Carter, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
  • Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Invited Discussants:

  • Ludmil Alexandrov, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
  • Serena Nik-Zainal, Ph.D., University of Cambridge
  • Allan Balmain, Ph.D., FRS, University of California, San Francisco
  • Maria (Tere) Landi, M.D., Ph.D., National Cancer Institute
  • Scott Auerbach, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Ting Wang, Ph.D., Washington University
  • Ben Gewurz, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Michael Fischbach, Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
  • Mona Singh, Ph.D., Princeton University
  • John Quackenbush, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Teresa Przytycka, Ph.D., National Library of Medicine
  • Mark Gerstein, Ph.D., Yale University
  • Joshua Campbell, Ph.D., Boston University
  • Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Ph.D., Van Andel Institute
  • Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University
  • John Essigmann, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stephen Chanock, M.D., National Cancer Institute
  • Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
  • Jesse Goodrich, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Karin Michels, Sc.D., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • Loïc Le Marchand, M.D., Ph.D., University of Hawai’i

Workshop Planning Committee:

  • Ron Johnson, Ph.D., NCI
  • Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Phil Daschner, M.Sc., NCI
  • Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., MPH, NCI
  • Arun Pandiri, Ph.D., NIEHS


For questions about the workshop content, please contact Daniel T. Shaughnessy, Ph.D. or Ron Johnson, Ph.D.