Infectious Agents and Cancer Epidemiology Research Webinar Series


The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) hosts a quarterly webinar series, "Infectious Agents and Cancer Epidemiology Research." The goals of this series are to:

  • Highlight emerging and cutting-edge research related to infection-associated cancers that could be applied to cancer epidemiology;
  • Share scientific knowledge about technologies and methods that may enhance and facilitate infection-associated cancer epidemiology research; and
  • Foster cross-disciplinary discussions on infectious agents and cancer epidemiology.

Any interested individual is invited to participate. The webinars are free, but require pre-registration. Each presentation will be about 30 minutes in length and allow for 30 minutes of discussion moderated by EGRP staff. Instructions for connecting to the webinars will be sent via e-mail to individuals who register.

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Infections are established etiologic factors in several cancers and contribute significantly to the global cancer burden. In 2008, it was estimated that 16.1% of newly diagnosed cancers were attributable to infections. The translational potential for this area of research is significant, as the identification of infections associated with cancers may lead to interventions such as treatment or vaccines to prevent associated cancers. As discussed in a blog post by NCI, DCCPS, EGRP, epidemiologic studies on the interplay of infectious agents and cancer induction could play important roles in answering both old and new questions, which could augment current knowledge and open new areas of research. Understanding the role of infectious agents in cancer may result in discoveries that could lead to better diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancers, particularly in resource-poor areas.

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Upcoming Topics and Speakers

There are currently no upcoming webinars scheduled.

Note: Additional speakers and topics may be added in the future.

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Past Topics and Speakers

December 11, 2018 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Adding Microbiome to Epidemiology Studies: Progress, Gaps and Challenges

Rob Knight, Ph.D.External Web Site Policy
Founding Director, Center for Microbiome Innovation
Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering, UC San Diego

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Dr. Rob Knight is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Academy of Microbiology. He received the 2017 Massry Prize for his microbiome research. In 2015 he received the Vilceck Prize in Creative Promise for the Life Sciences. He is the author of Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes; coauthor of Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System, and he gave a TED talk in 2014, “How Our Microbes Make Us Who We Are.”

His lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including the QIIME pipeline (cited over 12,000 times as of this writing) and UniFrac (cited over 7,000 times, including its web interface). He is co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project; the American Gut Project; and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions. His work linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world.

Dr. Knight presented on the progress, gaps, and challenges of incorporating the microbiome into epidemiology studies.

October 23, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Hepatitis B Is the Major Etiology of Liver Cancer: Is a Cure Possible? Is It Necessary?

Timothy M. Block, Ph.D.External Web Site Policy
President and Director, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and the Hepatitis B Foundation

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Timothy M. Block, Ph.D., is President and Co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation; its research arm, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute; and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center. His work, with Baruch S. Blumberg, Anand Mehta, and Raymond Dwek, pioneered the use of glycoproteomics for detection of biomarkers of liver cancer, leading to the use of Golph2/GP73 and core fucosylated serum proteins as risk stratifiers for liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. His work with Ying Su led to using “microDNA” detected in the urine as a cancer marker. More recently, he and his colleagues (Ju-Tao Guo, Hai-Tao Guo, and Andy Cuconati) have identified small molecule inhibitors of hepatitis B virus, which are in clinical phase human testing today.

He is the scientific co-founder of several life sciences companies, co-inventor on 20 issued patents and 23 applications, co-author on more than 240 scholarly papers, and was named a “Visionary in Hepatitis” by the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2017. He was elected into the U.S. National Academy of Inventors and was awarded an Honorary Degree from the Bulgarian Academy of Medicine. He is Adjunct Professor at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Block presented on Hepatitis B as a major etiology of liver cancer.

July 11, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

The Changing Epidemiology of Gastric Cancer in the United States

Maria Constanza Camargo, Ph.D.
Earl Stadtman Investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute

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Dr. Camargo is a cancer epidemiologist originally from Colombia. She earned an M.S. in epidemiology from the School of Public Health in Mexico, an M.H.A degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, and a Ph.D. in public health with a concentration in epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Camargo is an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Camargo’s research program focuses on Helicobacter pylori infection, premalignant gastric lesions, and gastric cancer. As a smaller research effort, she conducts studies of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with an emphasis on the potential etiologic role of infections. In both lines of research, her program combines studies on cancer causation with projects that may have translational application for cancer screening, prevention and treatment.

Dr. Camargo presented on the changing epidemiology of gastric cancer in the United States.

May 10, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Molecular Epidemiology of Epstein-Barr Virus Co-Infection in Gastric Carcinogenesis

Charles Rabkin, M.D.
Senior Investigator
Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute

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Dr. Charles Rabkin earned an Sc.B. and M.D. from Brown University and an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He received postgraduate training at the University of Colorado and is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine. Before coming to the NCI, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has received PHS Commendation and Unit Commendation Medals for his studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma and the Outstanding Service Medal for the molecular epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori and HIV-related malignancies.

Dr. Rabkin’s research is directed toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying associations of chronic infection and inflammation, particularly for gastric cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

His work in gastric cancer encompasses three sub-projects on the pathogenic microbes, modifying host factors and intermediate markers with potential for screening of gastric cancer and pre-neoplastic lesions. He has a particular focus on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a co-factor with Helicobacter pylori, the established cause of most cancers of the noncardia stomach. His work in Non-Hodgkin lymphoma focuses on the acquired and inherited abnormalities of immune cells that may contribute to their malignant transformation.

Dr. Rabkin presented on the molecular epidemiology of Epstein-Barr virus co-infection in gastric carcinogenesis.

December 11, 2017 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Shifting Trends in Cancer Risk and Burden Among People Living with HIV in the United States

Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute

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Dr. Shiels' research focuses on trends in cancer incidence and mortality, and the contribution of risk factors to these trends. She has a particular expertise in understanding cancer risk and burden among HIV-infected people, and is the co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the NCI’s HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study. In this webinar, Dr. Shiels presented on the shifting trends in cancer risk and burden among people living with HIV in the United States.

September 21, 2017 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

HPV Natural History in HIV+ Women and Its Clinical Implications

Howard D. Strickler, M.D., M.P.H.External Web Site Policy
Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Harold & Muriel Block Chair in Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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Dr. Howard Strickler presented on the HPV natural history in HIV+ women and relevant clinical complications. He is internationally recognized for his work on human papillomavirus (HPV) natural history in women who test positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). His research has had a major impact on the current clinical guidelines for cervical cancer screening in women with HIV.

June 29, 2017 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

Epidemiology and Perinatal Transmission of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus in Sub-Saharan Africa

Charles Wood, Ph.D.External Web Site Policy
Nebraska Center for Virology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Biological Sciences

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Dr. Wood's work focuses on HIV/AIDS and associated malignancies. He has served as the PI of several multi-center and multi-national collaborative projects, including serving as a Project Director for Biomedical Research Excellence award with 15-year funding from the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) to establish and sustain the Nebraska Center for Virology and serving as PI of a Fogarty International training grant on AIDS and associated malignancies. His largest ongoing collaborative research projects involve multiple U.S. research institutions, the University of Zambia School of Medicine and the University Teaching Hospital to study HIV/AIDS and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission, disease pathogenesis, treatment and prevention. In this webinar Dr. Wood presented on the epidemiology and perinatal transmission of KSHV in Sub-Saharan Africa.

April 11, 2017 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

The EMBLEM Study: A Resource for Molecular and Immunological Studies of Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma in East Africa

Sam Mbulaiteye, MBChB, M.Phil., M.Med.
Senior Investigator
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics (DCEG), National Cancer Institute

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Dr. Mbulaiteye presented on the Epidemiology of Burkitt's Lymphoma in East-African Children and Minors (EMBLEM) Study, a multi-country and multi-year case-control study that is evaluating the role of repeated malarial infections, malaria genetic variants, and Epstein-Barr virus genetic variants in Burkitt's lymphoma.

December 1, 2016 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

HPV Infection in Men, HPV Vaccine Trials, and the Role of HPV in Cancers

Anna R. Giuliano, Ph.D.External Web Site Policy
Founding Director, Center for Infection Research in Cancer (CIRC)
Moffitt Cancer Center

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Dr. Anna Giuliano is the Founding Director of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer (CIRC) at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Her primary research focus is on the relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and cancer, including cervical, penile, anal, and oral cancers. Her work has contributed to the understanding of the rate at which HPV infections are acquired and cleared, the proportion that progress to disease, and HPV vaccine protection against multiple diseases in women and men. Dr. Giuliano presented on HPV infection in men, HPV vaccine trials, and the role of HPV in cancers.

September 20, 2016 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT

Cutaneous Viral Infections as Potential Risk Factors for the Development of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

Dana E. Rollison, Ph.D.External Web Site Policy
Vice President, Chief Health Information Officer
Associate Member, Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center

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Dr. Dana Rollison is currently the PI of the NCI-funded VIRUSCAN Study, a 5-year, prospective cohort study of cutaneous viral infections, UV exposure and risk of basal and squamous cell carcinomas being conducted among skin cancer screening patients attending the University of South Florida Dermatology Clinic. She is also collaborating with investigators in the Immunology Program to identify markers of immune function that may predispose to both cutaneous viral infections and NMSC. Her primary research focus is the molecular epidemiology of human polyomavirus and papillomavirus infections in relation to cancer. In this webinar, Dr. Rollison discussed cutaneous viral infections as potential risk factors for the development of non-melanoma skin cancers.

June 9, 2016 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT

Annual Report to the Nation with a Focus on Liver Cancer: Risk Factors and Burden Are Unevenly Distributed in the Population

Sean Altekruse, D.V.M., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Epidemiologist, Surveillance Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute
Captain, Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

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Dr. Sean Altekruse is an epidemiologist in the Surveillance Informatics Branch (SIB) of the Surveillance Research Program (SRP). His research interests include infection and cancer and prognostic tumor biomarkers. He is also the National Cancer Institute PI for the National Longitudinal Mortality Study. Dr. Altekruse presented on population-based liver cancer surveillance.

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EGRP Planning Committee

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Questions about individual webinars or the series may be submitted via e-mail to the EGRP Planning Committee at

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