Research Summary

With dual appointments in the Epidemiology Branch and the Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Jack A. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., leads the Molecular & Genetic Epidemiology Group. The group, which works to understand the interaction between genes and environmental exposures in human cancer, has two main elements:

  • investigating the role of environmental exposure in epigenetic modifications to DNA
  • studying the role of genes, epigenetic modifications and environmental exposure in cancer risk

Taylor’s research on epigenetic modification addresses the hypothesis that different environmental exposures cause different patterns of DNA methylation in genes that are important in carcinogenesis. Much of this work has been on breast cancer investigating whether exposure and life course events lead to changes in the patten of DNA methylation across the genome and whether patterns of DNA methylation can be used to predict breast cancer risk.

Taylor received a B.A. from Carleton College, an M.D. from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor is licensed in North Carolina, and holds board certifications in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine. He holds Adjunct Professorships in the Department of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as in the Department of Medicine at Duke University. He serves as Senior Researcher in the U.S. Public Health Service at NIEHS.


  • LIFE and VALID Lung Studies
    The LIFE study's objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of Lung Imaging Fluorescence Endoscopy (LIFE) in detecting and following early lung lesions in patients at high risk for developing lung cancer. The VALID study, a companion to the LIFE study, evaluates the effect of initial arterial ligation versus venous ligation during surgery on the risk of distant metastases in lung cancer patients
  • Prostate Cancer Consortium
  • Sister Study


  • ENmix
    A software suite in R for preprocessing of methylation array data with extensive tools quality control, visualization, and analysis.
  • mPopTag
    A tool used to select or evaluate linkage disequilibrium tag SNPs for multiple populations.
  • SNPinfo: SNP Selection and Functional Information
  • TAGster
    A tool to select, evaluate and visualize LD tag SNPs for single or multiple populations.