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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Naoko Ishibe, ScD

Program Director
Environmental Epidemiology Branch
Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: 301-825-4579

  • ScD – Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • BA – Chemistry, University of Chicago
Contact for questions about:
  • Modifiable risk factors
  • Cancer etiology and outcomes
  • Childhood and early-onset cancers
  • Environment-gene interactions


Naoko Ishibe, ScD, is a program director in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch (EEB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Her responsibilities include overseeing a research portfolio of grants and initiatives that support research on modifiable risk factors and cancer etiology and outcomes particularly as it relates to childhood and early-onset cancers. Her scientific expertise and interests include obesity, metabolic dysregulation, medications and drugs, allostatic load or other markers of environmental and social stressors, genomics, and environment-gene interactions.

Dr. Ishibe has a history of working with EGRP throughout her career. She first joined EGRP as a program director in the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Branch (CTEB) where she oversaw and managed a research grant portfolio that included epidemiologic and molecular studies associated with cancer susceptibility and cancer-related outcomes. She also provided scientific leadership and direction for workshops hosted by NCI that resulted in publications – the Workshop on Comparative Effectiveness Research in Genomics in Personalized Medicine and the Survivorship Cohort Workshop. Additionally, Dr. Ishibe was a consultant to EGRP where she collaborated with government scientists in conducting and reviewing the state of the science and actively identifying research gaps of high priority to EGRP across the cancer care continuum.

Prior to joining EGRP, Dr. Ishibe was a study director at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). In this position, she guided committees to draft consensus reports on a variety of health-related projects (e.g., nuclear medicine, traumatic brain injury, medical isotope production). She also served as senior editor at the Oxford University Press – Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago and her doctoral degree, double majoring in epidemiology and environmental health, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She began her post-doctoral career at NCI as a fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and subsequently became an investigator in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch, where she conducted independent research related to cancer epidemiology with a particular focus on hereditary cancers and led studies on von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL), non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in high-risk families.

Select Publications

Ghazarian AA, Simonds NI, Lai GY, Mechanic LE. Opportunities for gene and environment research in cancer: an updated review of NCI's extramural grant portfolio. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021;30(3):576-583.

Gallicchio L, Gadalla SM, Murphy JD, Simonds NI. The effect of cancer treatments on telomere length: a systematic review of the literature. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018;110(10):1048-1058.

Simonds NI, Ghazarian AA, Pimentel CB, et al. Review of the gene-environment interaction literature in cancer: what do we know? Genet Epidemiol. 2016;40(5):356-65.

Wu JW, Boudreau DM, Park Y, Simonds NI, Freedman AN. Commonly used diabetes and cardiovascular medications and cancer recurrence and cancer-specific mortality: a review of the literature. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2014;13(8):1071-99.

Ghazarian AA, Simonds NI, Bennett K, et al. A review of NCI’s extramural grant portfolio: identifying opportunities for future research in genes and environment in cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013;22(4):501-7.