Unit of Genetic Epidemiology

The research activities of this unit aim at the elucidation and quantification of the independent and joint effects of genetic and lifestyle/environmental (i.e. non-genetic) factors on the risk of cancer and on prognosis after a diagnosis of cancer. The long-term goal is to identify high-risk subgroups for targeted prevention or management programs.

Our focus in the next few years will be:

  • To assess and quantify associations with emerging risk factors
  • To identify further cancer predisposing genes through using comprehensive candidate gene analysis coupled with analysis of gene-environmental interactions, as well as genome-wide association studies
  • To identify genetic and molecular modifiers of cancer treatment outcome and prognosis after radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  • To achieve greater power for gene discovery by development and implementation of new statistical approaches for the analysis of haplotypes and multiple genes in complex metabolic pathways, taking into account gene-gene and gene-environmental interactions

Most of our work is carried out using large population-based epidemiologic studies with a collection of comprehensive risk factor and clinical data as well as biospecimens. Examples are studies such as MARIE for breast cancer and DACHS for colorectal cancer which were established in collaboration with clinical partners. Many research studies are also embedded in large international consortia enabling further research activities.


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