Molecular Signatures of Exposure in Cancer
- Ludmil Alexandrov, Ph.D.
- Trevor Archer, Ph.D.
- Scott Auerbach, Ph.D.
- Allan Balmain, Ph.D.
- Paul Brennan, Ph.D.
- Joshua Campbell, Ph.D.
- Hannah Carter, Ph.D.
- Stephen Chanock, M.D.
- Phillip Daschner, M.Sc.
- John Essigmann, Ph.D.
- Michael Fischbach, Ph.D.
- Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Ph.D.
- Rebecca Fry, Ph.D.
- Dan Gallahan, Ph.D.
- Mark Gerstein, Ph.D.
- Ben Gewurz, M.D., Ph.D.
- Jesse Goodrich, Ph.D.
- Michelle Heacock, Ph.D.
- Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D.
- Ron Johnson, Ph.D.
- Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D.
- Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Loïc Le Marchand, M.D., Ph.D.
- Karin Michels, Sc.D., Ph.D.
- Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D.
- Serena Nik-Zainal, Ph.D.
- Arun Pandiri, Ph.D.
- David Phillips, Ph.D.
- Teresa Przytycka, Ph.D.
- John Quackenbush, Ph.D.
- Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
- Mona Singh, Ph.D.
- Cheryl Walker, Ph.D.
- Ting Wang, Ph.D.
- Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Ludmil Alexandrov, Ph.D.
University of California San Diego
Ludmil Alexandrov, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Cellular & Molecular Medicine at University of California San Diego (UC San Diego). Alexandrov’s research focuses on understanding large-scale molecular sciences datasets and leveraging this knowledge for developing better cancer-prevention strategies and improving cancer treatment. He has co-authored 135 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including 30 publications in Nature, Science, or Cell. Alexandrov is best known for creating the concept of mutational signatures, developing bioinformatics tools for analyses of cancer genomics data, and pioneering novel artificial intelligence (AI) approaches for improving cancer treatment and cancer prevention. He received his doctoral degree in cancer genetics from the Sanger Institute and University of Cambridge.
Trevor Archer, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Trevor Archer, Ph.D., received a doctoral degree in biochemistry in 1987 at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, after which he completed postdoctoral training on chromatin gene transcription and steroid receptors at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1992, Archer joined the University of Western Ontario in Canada, as a National Cancer Institute of Canada scientist. Archer was recruited to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in 1999 as head of the Chromatin & Gene Expression Group and was later appointed as chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis in February 2003. In 2014, Archer became the founding chief of the new Epigenetics & Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at NIEHS. Archer has made numerous original and important contributions to the study of chromatin structure and function, epigenetics, and gene transcriptional regulation in breast cancer cells while publishing roughly 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
Scott Auerbach, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Division of Translational Research
Scott Auerbach, Ph.D., received a dual bachelor's degree from The Pennsylvania State University in physiology and biochemistry/molecular biology, and his doctoral degree in pharmacology from the University of Washington. The focus of his doctorate research was characterizing the impact of structural variation of nuclear receptors caused by alternative mRNA splicing. He was then a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University, where he studied the genetics of human pulmonary fibrosis. Subsequently, he accepted a fellowship at the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP), now the Division of Translational Research (DTT). In 2009, he became a staff scientist at the DNTP at NIEHS and a diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology. He is currently the toxicoinformatics group leader in the Predictive Toxicology Branch of the DTT. His research focuses on applying molecular and high-dimensional data to toxicology, with the goal of increasing efficiency and bridging the knowledge of toxicology to novel means of quantifying biological change. Since joining the DTT he has led efforts to apply machine learning to carcinogenicity and toxicity prediction, the DNTP’s rapid response to the Elk River chemical spill, and the in vivo genomic dose response analysis and reporting group. Further, he has been guiding the development of the genomic dose-response software, BMDExpress, in addition to other software to enhance the interpretation omic and high-throughput toxicology data.
Allan Balmain, Ph.D.
University of California San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Allan Balmain, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., F.R.S., F.A.A.C.R., is the Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professor of Cancer Genetics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco. He has a long-standing interest in the interactions between genetic background and environmental factors, including mutagens and tumor promoters, that lead to initiation and promotion of cancer. He addresses these questions mainly using mouse models to understand the genetic and biological changes during multistage carcinogenesis.
Paul Brennan, Ph.D.
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Paul Brennan, Ph.D., leads the Genomic Epidemiology at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). IARC is the cancer research Agency of the WHO. The main focus of his work my is to use genomics and epidemiology to better understand causes of cancer. He has a particular focus on trying to understand causes of esophageal cancer (with a focus in North East Iran), as well as renal and pancreas cancer (in central Europe), and head and neck cancers (in Latin America).
Joshua Campbell, Ph.D.
Boston University Department of Medicine, Division of Computational Biomedicine
Joshua Campbell, Ph.D., received a bachelor's degree in biology, computer science, and mathematics from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He then received his doctoral degree in bioinformatics from Boston University. He performed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer genomics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. Campbell is currently an assistant professor at the Boston University Department of Medicine within the Division of Computational Biomedicine. Campbell has many research interests including computational biology and bioinformatics, identifying early drivers of lung cancer, and the therapeutic development and pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Hannah Carter, Ph.D.
University of California San Diego
Hannah Carter, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the UC San Diego Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics. She received her doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Louisville. She is an Azrieli Global Scholar, a Siebel Scholar, and a recipient of the 2013 NIH Director’s Early Independence Award.
Stephen Chanock, M.D.
National Cancer Institute
Stephen Chanock, M.D., is a leading expert in the discovery and characterization of cancer susceptibility regions in the human genome. He has received numerous awards for his scientific contributions to our understanding of common inherited genetic variants associated with cancer risk and outcomes. Chanock received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1983 and completed clinical training in pediatrics, pediatric infectious diseases, and pediatric hematology and oncology and research training in molecular genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Since 1995, Chanock has served as the medical director for Camp Fantastic, a week-long recreational camp for pediatric cancer patients, which is a joint venture of the NCI and Special Love, Inc. Chanock was appointed director of NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) in August 2013.
Phillip Daschner, M.Sc.
National Cancer Institute
Phillip Daschner, M.Sc., is a program director in the Cancer Immunology, Hematology, and Etiology Branch in the Division of Cancer Biology, National Cancer Institute (NCI). He currently manages a portfolio of basic research grants that investigate mechanisms of biological agents (most viral and bacterial) and host predisposing states that are etiological factors or cofactors in carcinogenesis. He is currently in leadership roles on both the Trans-NIH Microbiome Working Group (TMWG) and the NCI Microbiome Working Group, which coordinate ongoing microbiome-related initiatives and activities at the NIH and Institute levels. His research interests include the role of the microbiome in carcinogenesis, tumor immunity and therapy efficacy, infection derived cancers, cellular defense mechanisms, dietary phytochemicals and metabolites in chemoprevention, inflammation and cell stress response pathways, and cancer health disparities.
John Essigmann, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Essigmann, Ph.D., is the William and Betsy Leitch Professor of chemistry, biological engineering, and toxicology at MIT. His laboratory studies the responses of cells to DNA-damaging agents, with a specific emphasis on mechanisms of mutagenesis and genotoxicity. One major line of work involves the synthesis of oligonucleotides containing known carcinogen- or drug-DNA adducts, insertion of the modified oligonucleotide into the genomes of viruses, and replication of the modified viral genome in living cells; this work defines the type, amount and genetic requirements for mutagenesis and toxicity. In other work, his laboratory uses high-resolution mutational spectrometry to determine the mutational spectra of DNA damaging agents, such as aflatoxin B1 and N-nitrosodimethylamine.
Michael Fischbach, Ph.D.
Michael Fischbach, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, an institute scholar of Stanford Chemistry, Engineering, and Medicine for Human Health (ChEM-H), and the director of the Stanford Microbiome Therapies Initiative. Fischbach is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholars Award, a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, a Medical Research Award from the W.M. Keck Foundation, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award, and a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. His laboratory uses a combination of genomics and chemistry to identify and characterize small molecules from microbes, with an emphasis on the human microbiome. Fischbach received his doctoral degree as a John and Fannie Hertz Foundation Fellow in chemistry from Harvard University in 2007, where he studied the role of iron acquisition in bacterial pathogenesis and the biosynthesis of antibiotics. After two years as an independent fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Fischbach joined the faculty at the University of California San Francisco, where he founded his lab, before moving to Stanford in 2017. Fischbach is a co-founder and director of Federation Bio and Kelonia, a co-founder of Revolution Medicines, a member of the scientific advisory boards of NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Chan Zuckerberg Science, and an innovation partner at The Column Group.
Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Ph.D.
The Van Andel Institute
Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Ph.D., is a professor of epigenetics at The Van Andel Institute. Fondufe-Mittendorf obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Goettingen, Germany, and did a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University in the lab of the late Jonathan Widom. She then went on to her first faculty job at the University of Kentucky, where she became a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. Fondufe-Mittendorf moved to The Van Andel Institute in January of 2022 as a professor in the Department of Epigenetics. Her lab studies how the epigenome is reprogrammed in response to an environmental toxicant to drive diseases such as cancer.
Rebecca Fry, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Rebecca Fry, Ph.D. is the Carol Remmer Angle Distinguished Professor in Children’s Environmental Health and associate chair in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). Fry is the founding director of the newly launched Institute for Environmental Health Solutions (IEHS) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Fry received her doctoral degree in biology from Tulane University with postdoctoral training in toxicogenomics and environmental health sciences at MIT. A primary goal of Fry’s research is to increase awareness of the deleterious impacts of toxic exposures during the prenatal period with a focus on the epigenome and developmental origins of health and disease.
Dan Gallahan, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute
Dan Gallahan, Ph.D., is the NCI director for the Division of Cancer Biology. Gallahan started as NCI an intramural researcher focusing on the utilization of model systems to help understand the role of genetic alterations in breast cancer and the role of human papillomaviruses in cancer. He also spent time in private industry exploring the commercial and applied side of research, helping to establish a molecular diagnostic test. In the NCI extramural community, he has been responsible for the establishment of many important programs and scientific innovations having direct impact on new knowledge and cancer advances, such as the Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act, Trans-NCI Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) program, and the Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP). In his relentless pursuit of innovation and desire for a better understanding of cancer, he has advanced quickly to become the deputy director of the Division of Cancer Biology and subsequently the director of the division in 2019.
Mark Gerstein, Ph.D.
Yale University, Yale Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Program
After graduating from Harvard with a bachelors in physics in 1989, Mark Gerstein, Ph.D., earned a doctorate in theoretical chemistry and biophysics from Cambridge in 1993. He did postdoctoral research at Stanford, then came to Yale in 1997 as an assistant professor. In 2003, he became co-director of the Yale Computational Biology & Bioinformatics program. Gerstein has published over 600 publications, including several in prominent journals, such as Science and Nature. His research is focused on biomedical data science and he is particularly interested in machine learning, macromolecular simulation, human-genome annotation, disease genomics, and biomedical privacy.
Ben Gewurz, M.D., Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Ben Gewurz, M.D., Ph.D. is an associate professor at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is the associate chair of the Harvard Graduate Program in Virology and a founding member of the Broad Institute Center for Integrative Solutions in Infectious Diseases. His laboratory studies Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) driven B-cell lymphomagenesis and gastric carcinogenesis, including EBV-driven metabolism remodeling, epigenetic control of viral oncogene expression, the EBV lytic switch, oncogene pathways, and host/virus interactions. Gewurz is the president of the International EBV Association, a PLoS Pathogens associate editor, and a member of the Virology, Journal of Virology and Tumor Virus Research editorial boards.
Jesse Goodrich, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Jesse Goodrich, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California. His research combines data on mixtures of environmental exposures with information from omics datasets, to better characterize the effects of environmental pollutants on cancer risks. In particular, his recent work has focused on how per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a persistent and ubiquitous group of chemicals detected in blood of over 99% of people in the U.S., increase the risk of liver cancer via alterations in key metabolic pathways linked to glucose and amino acid metabolism.
Michelle Heacock, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Hazardous Substances Research Branch
Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., received her doctorate from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, for her work on the interplay between DNA repair proteins and telomeres. Her postdoctoral work was conducted at the NIEHS where she studied the DNA repair pathway, base excision repair. Her research focused on understanding the causes of cellular toxicity caused by DNA-damaging agents. Heacock is currently serving as the acting branch chief of the Hazardous Substances Research Branch and is a health science administrator overseeing Superfund Research Program (SRP) grants that span basic molecular mechanisms of biological responses from exposures to hazardous substances, movement of hazardous substances through environmental media, detection technologies, and remediation approaches. She has been with NIEHS since 2007.
Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University
Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D., is the Goodnight Distinguished Innovation Chair and professor in biological sciences and directs the Epidemiology and Environmental Epigenomics Laboratory at North Carolina State University (NC State). Her group’s research program aims to improve our understanding of how early development influences the risk of common chronic diseases, especially those that exhibit racial/ethnic differences in outcomes, including liver cancer and metabolic diseases. Her group has used a two-pronged approach to accomplish this. The first tactic is to identify environmentally responsive epigenetic elements that can be evaluated as a link between environmental stressors and common chronic diseases in children and adults. She also has assembled and is following multiple cohorts of newborns and otherwise healthy adults to identify environmentally responsive epigenetic targets that mediate environmental exposures and chronic-disease susceptibility in children and in adults.
Ron Johnson, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute
Ron Johnson, Ph.D., is a program director in the DNA and Chromosome Aberrations Branch in the Division of Cancer Biology, NCI. Johnson oversees a portfolio of cancer biology research awards related to chemical and physical carcinogens, DNA damage, and gene expression with a focus on lung, bladder, and liver cancers. Johnson received a doctorate in biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed postdoctoral studies in developmental biology at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D., has training in clinical oncology and molecular epidemiology. She is a senior advisor for the Genomic Epidemiology, Trans-Divisional Research Program, and a senior investigator for the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH. She focuses her research on the genetic and environmental determinants of lung cancer and melanoma, and on the genomic characterization of these tumors. She is the principal investigator of both EAGLE and Sherlock-Lung, two landmark studies of lung cancer in smokers and never-smokers, respectively, which identified subtypes with distinct genomic features, mutational signatures, and evolutionary trajectories. She is also the leader of the MelaNostrum consortium, with the largest family study of melanoma worldwide.
Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., M.P.H.
National Cancer Institute
Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., is a program director in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). His responsibilities include managing research that focuses on cancer epidemiology of modifiable risk factors such as environmental exposures and lifestyle factors, and the development of scientific research initiatives. Mahabir leads the Cohorts for Environmental Exposures and Cancer Risk (CEECR) program and was involved with the development of the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. Mahabir served as co-chair for research on the 2019-2023 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research, and currently serves as co-chair of the NIEHS-NCI Cancer and the Environment Working Group. Prior to joining EGRP in 2009, Mahabir was an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Mahabir is the recipient of an NCI Cancer Prevention Research Training Merit Award, NCI Director's Award, CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Honor Award, NIH Director’s Award and academic awards from New York Medical College and New York Institute of Technology.
Loïc Le Marchand, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Hawai’i Cancer Center
Loïc Le Marchand, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of cancer epidemiology in the Population Sciences in the Pacific Program and currently serves as associate director for population sciences and community outreach and engagement at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center. His research focuses on the role of biological and environmental factors in the etiology of colorectal, lung, and breast cancers, especially regarding ethnic/racial differences in cancer risk.
Karin Michels, Sc.D., Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health
Karin Michels, Sc.D., Ph.D., is professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles. From 2016-2021, she served as chair of the department at UCLA after a 25-year stint at Harvard. Michels received her doctoral training in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and earned an additional doctorate in biostatistics from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Her research focuses on the developmental origin of cancer, particularly breast cancer. She served as the principal investigator of one of the U01 grants in The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) consortium that explored the role of various environmental chemicals on pubertal maturation and development of the mammary gland. Michels also studies the influence of nutrition on health and heads several ongoing intervention studies of diet and the microbiome. She is also the cofounder of the area of epigenetic epidemiology and published the leading textbook in this field.
Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D.
Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her research investigates the health effects of environmental exposures (metals, tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes, air pollution), molecular pathways and gene-environment interactions, and effective interventions for reducing involuntary exposures and their health effects, with the goal of improving people’s health and advance environmental justice. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Granada, Spain, and completed her residency training in preventive medicine and public health at the Hospital La Paz, Madrid, and her doctoral degree in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She is recognized for bridging medical and environmental health sciences using a participatory approach. She directs the Columbia University Northern Plains SRP, a center that integrates science, technology, and traditional knowledge to protect the Northern Plains water resources and Indigenous communities from hazardous metal exposures.
Serena Nik-Zainal, Ph.D.
University of Cambridge
Serena Nik-Zainal, Ph.D., is a Professor of Genomic Medicine and Bioinformatics and an NIHR Research Professor at the University of Cambridge. She studied medicine at the University of Cambridge in 2000 and completed a doctorate degree at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI) in 2009 exploring breast cancer using whole genome sequencing (WGS). She demonstrated how detailed downstream analyses of all mutations present in WGS breast cancers could reveal mutation signatures, which are imprints left by mutagenic processes that have occurred through cancer development. She identified a novel phenomenon of localized hypermutation termed “kataegis”. Nik-Zainal was awarded a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2013. She joined the Sanger Institute faculty team in 2014 and continued to develop expertise in the analysis and interpretation of WGS tumors. Apart from using computational approaches, she also studies mutational signatures experimentally using cell-based model systems. Nik-Zainal ran a clinical project, Insignia, recruiting patients with DNA repair/replication defects, aging syndromes and neurodegeneration, and people who have been exposed to environmental/occupational mutagens to gain biological insights into mutational phenomena in these patients. Nik-Zainal moved to the Department of Medical Genetics in 2017 to accelerate the translation of her genomics expertise towards clinical applications and further her work into the physiological mechanisms underpinning mutagenesis.
Arun Pandiri, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Molecular Pathology Group
Arun Pandiri, Ph.D., leads the Molecular Pathology Group at NIH. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and the American Board of Toxicology. He was previously an NIEHS Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow, then a contract pathologist from Experimental Pathology Laboratories, Inc. His areas of interest include chemical-induced carcinogenesis and the toxicologic pathology of digestive and respiratory systems. He earned his veterinary degree from Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), Hyderabad, India; master's degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; doctoral degree from Michigan State University and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory, East Lansing; and pathology residency training at NC State, Raleigh.
David Phillips, Ph.D.
King's College London
David H. Phillips, Ph.D., D.Sc., FRCPath, is a Professor of Environmental Carcinogenesis at King’s College London. His research interests are in the mechanisms of metabolic activation of environmental carcinogens, the detections and identification of DNA adducts, and the biological consequences of such DNA damage – what cells do to carcinogens and what carcinogens do to cells. In recent years, his attention has focused on generating whole genome mutational signatures in in vitro systems with the aim of determining the environmental origins of mutations found in human tumors.
Teresa Przytycka, Ph.D.
National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information
Teresa Przytycka, Ph.D., is a senior investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and NIH. The research in her group focuses on computational methods advancing the understanding of biomolecular systems, including gene regulation, biological networks, and the emergence of complex phenotypes, including cancer. In 2021, she was elected an International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) fellow.
John Quackenbush, Ph.D.
John Quackenbush, Ph.D., is professor of computational biology and bioinformatics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, professor in the Channing Division of Network Medicine, and professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Quackenbush completed his doctorate degree in theoretical physics, but in 1992 he received a fellowship to work on the Human Genome Project. This led him through the Salk Institute, Stanford, The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), and to Harvard in 2005. Quackenbush uses massive data to probe how many small effects combine to influence human health and disease. He has more than 300 scientific papers and over 73,000 citations. Among his honors is recognition in 2013 as a White House Open Science Champion of Change.
Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Exposure, Response, and Technology Branch
Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D., joined the Division of Extramural Research and Training in 2006. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at NIEHS, he conducted research on the risks and protective effects of dietary factors on DNA damage in humans. Shaughnessy manages a portfolio of grants related to DNA repair and mutagenesis. He also manages grants on the development and validation of biomarkers of response to environmental stress, with a current focus on early biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction and altered signaling in response to environmental stress. He is the program contact for the small business programs (SBIR/STTR) at NIEHS. He received a doctoral degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 and a master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2000, studying the molecular mechanisms of dietary antimutagens.
Mona Singh, Ph.D.
Mona Singh, Ph.D., is a professor of computer science in the Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. She has been on the faculty at Princeton University since 1999. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and her doctorate from MIT, all in computer science. She works broadly in computational molecular biology and its interface with machine learning and algorithms. Much of her work is on developing algorithms to decode genomes at the protein level and she is especially interested in developing data-driven methods for predicting and characterizing protein sequences, functions, interactions, and networks, both in healthy and disease contexts. Among her awards are the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2001, and the Rheinstein Junior Faculty Award from Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2003. She was named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 2019 and of the Informational Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISCB) in 2018.
Cheryl Walker, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Precision Environmental Health and a professor in the Departments of Molecular & Cell Biology and Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She currently directs the NIEHS Center for Translational Environmental Health Research and serves on the board of scientific advisors for the National Cancer Institute. Walker’s studies on the role of the epigenome in gene-environment interactions have yielded significant insights into mechanisms by which early life exposures influence health and disease across the life course. Her work has also led to the discovery of new tumor suppressor functions in the cell. Walker earned her bachelor’s degree in 1977 from the University of Colorado-Boulder in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, and a doctorate in 1984 in cell biology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, with additional post-doctoral training as a staff fellow at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She has been recognized with the 2016 Leading Edge in Basic Research Award from the Society of Toxicology, is a fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and in 2016 was elected to National Academy of Medicine.
Ting Wang, Ph.D.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Ting Wang, Ph.D., is the inaugural Sanford C. and Karen P. Loewentheil Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. His group is known for defining the widespread contribution of transposable elements (TEs) to the evolution of gene regulatory networks as well as to the 3D genome architecture, and for revealing that epigenetic dysregulation of TEs is a major mechanism driving oncogenesis. His lab is home to the WashU Epigenome Browser, utilized by investigators around the world to access hundreds of thousands of genomic datasets generated by large Consortia including the NIH Roadmap Epigenome Project, Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), 4D Nucleome, TaRGET, Impact of Genomic Variation on Function (IGVF), and the Human Pangenome Project. Wang currently directs the NIEHS Environmental Epigenomics Data Center, the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium, the IGVF Data Administrative and Coordination Center, the SMaHT Network Organization Center and Genome Characterization Center.
Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Division of Epidemiology
Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and director of the Division of Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He also serves as the associate director for Population Science Research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Zheng has published more than 1,200 research papers and served as the principal investigator for more than 35 NIH-funded large epidemiologic and genetic studies, including three large prospective cohort studies including over 200,000 study participants. His research focuses on nutrition and the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cancer.