Bulletin - January 11, 2008

Reid and Verma Appointed EGRP Branch Chiefs

NCI's Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program (EGRP) has two new Branch Chiefs. Britt Reid, D.D.S., Ph.D., has been named to head the Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB) and Mukesh Verma, Ph.D., has been named to head the Methods and Technologies Branch (MTB). These appointments are part of last year's reorganization of EGRP which included changing from a two-branch to a four-branch structure.

Dr. Reid came to NCI in 2007 as a Program Director in MRFB. Prior to joining EGRP, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Maryland Dental School, where he was director of the graduate course Applied Scientific Evidence, an epidemiology consultant for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Data Resource Center, and global data director for the Special Olympics oral health program. Dr. Reid also was a Principal Investigator for two NIH-funded grants addressing head and neck cancers and co-Investigator for two additional NIH-funded grants addressing the impact of comorbid conditions on health outcomes. He served as a reviewer of epidemiology and cancer content for seven scientific journals and two NIH study sections, and he has authored or coauthored 27 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals since the year 2000.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Reid practiced clinical dentistry in Washington, DC, and as a Naval Officer in support of the Fleet Marine Force in Japan. He received his D.D.S. from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

MRFB focuses on supporting and stimulating research on cancer factors that may be modifiable, such as diet and nutrition, alcohol, physical activity and energy balance, tobacco, infectious diseases, physical and chemical agents, and medical exposures.

Dr. Verma joined EGRP as a Program Director in 2004. In 2005, he was appointed Acting Chief of the former Analytic Epidemiology Research Branch (AERB). When EGRP reorganized last year, he was appointed Acting Chief of MTB and of the Host Susceptibility Factors Branch (HSFB), for which he continues to serve as Acting Chief.

Dr. Verma is responsible for developing EGRP's initiative to stimulate research on epigenetic approaches in cancer epidemiology and has been instrumental in developing epigenetic research for NIH as a whole. He helped to develop a Request for Applications (RFA) on Environmental Influences on Epigenetics with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and represents the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), of which EGRP is a part, in NIH's Roadmap Initiative on epigenetics.

He is known within the extramural research community as an EGRP Program Director for Program Announcements (PAs) on Small Grants for Cancer Epidemiology and Pilot Studies in Pancreatic Cancer, and is a co-Program Director for initiatives in gene-environment interactions in cancer etiology. He was, and continues to be, a co-Program Director for initiatives in gene-environment interactions in cancer etiology, including the Breast and Prostate Cancer and Hormone-Related Variants Cohort Consortium (BPC3), which is a collaborative project to pool data and biospecimens from a group of large prospective cancer epidemiology cohorts. He also organized a workshop to explore developing a concept for a research initiative on mitochondrial DNA and cancer epidemiology.

Before joining EGRP, Dr. Verma was a Program Director in NCI's Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP), where he worked in the areas of biomarkers, early detection, risk assessment, and prevention. He also was Coordinator of DCP's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs.

Dr. Verma holds an M.Sc. from Pantnagar University, a Ph.D. in the field of host-virus interaction from Banaras Hindu University, and did postdoctoral research at George Washington University.

MTB focuses on developing and improving methods for epidemiologic data collection, study design, and analysis; on modifying approaches developed in the context of other research endeavors for cancer epidemiologic settings; and on methods to increase understanding of cancer susceptibility. The Branch also manages EGRP's SBIR/STTR Programs.

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