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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Biomarkers and Cancer Epidemiology Research

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Andrea Burnett-Hartman, PhD, MPH
Program Director, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Branch

Biomarkers for early detection/screening of cancer

Danielle Carrick, PhD, MHS
Program Director, Genomic Epidemiology Branch

Biomarkers of nutrition, early life exposures

Somdat Mahabir, PhD, MPH
Program Director, Environmental Epidemiology Branch

Multi-omics biomarkers for risk assessment and survival

Mukesh Verma, PhD
Branch Chief, Methods and Technologies Branch

Assessment and validation of digital biomarkers (including physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep)

Dana Wolff-Hughes, PhD
Program Director, Risk Factor Assessment Branch


A biomarker is a biologic specimen that may be a marker of exposure to a substance, its metabolism, or an integration of exposure and metabolism. Biomarkers may also reflect host characteristics. Digital biomarkers are physiological and behavioral measures derived from digital technology that explain or predict health outcomes. Because biomarkers are sometimes related to risk of disease, they are important in cancer control research. To be useful in cancer epidemiology, applications of biomarkers should reduce misclassification of exposures and disease, enhance detection of exposure-disease associations, or increase opportunities for intervention.

NCI Requests for Information

  • NOT-CA-24-046 seeks input by June 10, 2024 from those with cancer case-control, cancer case series, or longitudinal studies of multi-cancer detection (MCD) liquid biopsy tests about the feasibility of an NCI-sponsored ancillary study focused on MCD performance among people at high genetic risk for cancer.
  • NOT-CA-24-051 seeks input by June 17, 2024 from entities with study cohorts of individuals with germline genotyping and/or sequencing and cancer follow-up data.

NCI’s Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) is interested in the development of novel biomarkers as well as understanding how biomarkers can be used in risk factor assessment, early detection/screening of cancer, disease stratification, identifying environmental exposures that may lead to cancer, and as markers of nutrition that either promote or protect against cancer.

Funding Opportunities

NCI is currently participating in the following notices of funding opportunities that are relevant to biomarkers research:

  • Integrating Biospecimen Science Approaches into Clinical Assay Development – expires September 14, 2024
  • Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Improving Outcomes in Cancer Treatment-Related Cardiotoxicity - expires November 6, 2024
  • NOSI: Utilization of Cohorts and Prospective Study Designs for Liquid Biopsy Assay Validation for Early Detection of Cancers - expires July 2, 2025
  • Revision Applications for Validation of Biomarker Assays Developed Through NIH-Supported Research Grants - expires October 14, 2026
  • Assay Validation of High Quality Markers for Clinical Studies in Cancer - expires October 15, 2026

EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to notices of funding opportunities. View the full list of cancer control research funding opportunities.

EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on topics related to biomarkers and cancer epidemiology.

Related NIH Research Resources