Stanford Cancer Institute Directory
Population Sciences Profiles
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Kenneth Fong Professor and Professor of Bioengineering, of Genetics, of Medicine (General Medical Discipline), of Biomedical Data Science and, by courtesy, of Computer Science
Russ Biagio Altman is a professor of bioengineering, genetics, medicine, and biomedical data science (and of computer science, by courtesy) and past chairman of the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computing and informatics technologies to problems relevant to medicine. He is particularly interested in methods for understanding drug action at molecular, cellular, organism and population levels. His lab studies how human genetic variation impacts drug response (e.g. http://www.pharmgkb.org/). Other work focuses on the analysis of biological molecules to understand the actions, interactions and adverse events of drugs (http://feature.stanford.edu/). He helps lead an FDA-supported Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science & Innovation (https://pharm.ucsf.edu/cersi). Dr. Altman holds an A.B. from Harvard College, and M.D. from Stanford Medical School, and a Ph.D. in Medical Information Sciences from Stanford. He received the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine, IOM) of the National Academies. He is a past-President, founding board member, and a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a past-President of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT). He has chaired the Science Board advising the FDA Commissioner, currently serves on the NIH Director’s Advisory Committee, and is Co-Chair of the IOM Drug Forum. He is an organizer of the annual Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (http://psb.stanford.edu/), and a founder of Personalis, Inc. Dr. Altman is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Clinical Informatics. He received the Stanford Medical School graduate teaching award in 2000, and mentorship award in 2014.
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Genetics
The Curtis laboratory couples innovative experimental approaches, high-throughput omic technologies, statistical inference and computational modeling to interrogate the evolutionary dynamics of tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. To this end, Dr. Curtis and her team have developed an integrated experimental and computational framework to measure clinically relevant patient-specific parameters and to measure clonal dynamics. Her research also aims to develop a systematic interpretation of genotype/phenotype associations in cancer by leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and robust data integration techniques. For example, using integrative statistical approaches to mine multiple data types she lead a seminal study that redefined the molecular map of breast cancer, revealing novel subgroups with distinct clinical outcomes and subtype-specific drivers.
Rehnborg Farquhar Professor
For the past 20 years most of my research has been focused on investigating the potential health benefits of various dietary components or food patterns, which have been explored in the context of randomized controlled trials in free-living adult populations. Some of the interventions have involved vegetarian diets, soy foods and soy food components, garlic, omega-3 fats/fish oil/flax oil, antioxidants, Ginkgo biloba, and popular weight loss diets. These trials have ranged in duration from 8 weeks to a year, with study outcomes that have included weight, blood lipids and lipoproteins, inflammatory markers, glucose, insulin, blood pressure and body composition. Most of these trials have been NIH-funded. In 2012 we were funded by NIH to conduct a 5-year low-carb vs. low-fat weight loss study among overweight and obese adults after genotyping them and assigning them to a diet that we believe they are more vs. less likely to succeed on based on potential genetic predisposition. One of the secondary hypotheses is that insulin resistance will be a moderator of success on the two diets. The original NIH study was generously augmented by the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) and a group of donors, allowing us to increase the sample size from 400 to 600 individuals, to add analyses of the microbiome in a subset of participants, and to bring in additional collaborators. As of June 2015 recruitment and enrollment was completed, with a final sample of n=609 randomized. The 12-month diet protocol for the the final participants enrolled will be completed by spring of 2016, and we expect main results by the end of 2016 or early 2017. As of 2015 our nutrition research team is also participating in two multisite studies, one on sodium intake, and another on Vitamin D supplementation. In the past few years my long-term research interests have shifted to include a second line of inquiry that falls more under the umbrella of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). This shift came from the recent realization and appreciation that focusing on "health" as a motivator for changing and improving human food behaviors can drastically limit the potential impact for change. This realization led me to initiate the first annual Stanford Food Summit in 2010. The first Stanford Food Summit in 2010 was attended by hundreds of scholars from across all seven of Stanford's undergraduate and graduate schools (Medicine, Earth Sciences, Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Law, Business and Education). The subsequent four Stanford Food Summit (2011, 2012 2013, 2014) have provided forums to present the work and findings of several new community-academic partnerships (e.g., Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, CA, and Second Harvest Food Bank in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties). The partnerships have been formed through CBPR pilot project funding that we were able to provide due to several generous donors who attended our Food Summits and were inspired by our vision for solution-oriented approaches to food system problems. My long-term vision in this area is to create a world-class Stanford Food Systems Initiative, and build on the idea that Stanford is uniquely positioned geographically, culturally, and academically, to address national and global crises in the areas of obesity and diabetes that are directly related to our broken food systems.
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics Research) and of Biomedical Data Science
Professor (Research) of Pediatrics (Adolescent Medicine) and, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology)
Dr. Halpern-Felsher is a developmental psychologist whose research has focused on cognitive and psychosocial factors involved in adolescents’ and young adults’ health-related decision-making, perceptions of risk and vulnerability, health communication, and risk behavior. Her research has focused on understanding and reducing health risk behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol and marijuana use, risky driving, and risky sexual behavior. Her research has been instrumental in changing how providers discuss sexual risk with adolescents and has influenced national policies regulating adolescent and young adult tobacco use. As part of the Tobacco Center's of Regulatory Science (TCORS), she is the PI on an NIH/NCI and FDA-funded longitudinal study examining adolescents’ and young adults’ perceptions regarding as well as initiation, continuation, and cessation of current and new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Dr. Halpern-Felsher is also the founder and director of the Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, an online curricular aimed at reducing and preventing youth tobacco use. Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research and committee work have been instrumental in setting policy at the local, state, and national level. In California, Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research was cited in support of school-based tobacco education initiatives within California’s Tobacco Education Research Oversight Committee’s 2012 Masterplan, and again in their 2017 Masterplan. This Masterplan sets funding priority areas for research, education and intervention for California. Dr. Halpern-Felsher is also collaborating with the California Department of Education to develop, implement and evaluate new school-based tobacco prevention and education materials. At the national level, Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research was highlighted in the 2012 Surgeon General Report, ”Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults,” and Dr. Halpern-Felsher contributed to the chapter on Clinical interventions: The role of health care providers in the prevention of youth tobacco use. Dr. Halpern-Felsher has been a member of five Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Sciences committees focusing on adolescent and young adult health risk behavior. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and currently serves on the Council for the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR), and Co-Chairs the SPR Mentoring Committee. In 2007, Dr. Halpern-Felsher became one of the Program Directors for the NIH/NIDDK-funded Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP), High School Program. She has received two NIH 5-year grants to coordinate this program thus far. For this Step-Up Program, Dr. Halpern-Felsher mentors and supervises 22-25 junior and senior high school students each year. These high students are recruited throughout the country, and conduct their 8-10 weeks of research in their hometown. In addition to mentoring high school students, Dr. Halpern-Felsher has been a mentor to over 75 graduate and medical students and postdoctoral fellows.
Sr Research Engineer, Medicine - Stanford Prevention Research Center Sr Research Scholar, Medicine - Med/Stanford Prevention Research Center
Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center/Cancer Institute) and, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology)
Dr. Hsing is a professor of medicine at Stanford University and a co-leader of the Population Sciences Program at Stanford Cancer Institute. A senior fellow for the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University, Dr. Hsing has conducted population-based epidemiological studies on four continents, including North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. She is a leading expert in the epidemiology and etiology of prostate, hepatobiliary, and thyroid cancers as well as in hormonal carcinogenesis and circadian rhythm. Throughout her 22-year tenure at National Cancer Institute, Dr. Hsing developed extensive expertise in molecular epidemiology, global oncology, cancer prevention, and population-based studies in international settings. She has served on numerous committees and advisory boards, most recently as a member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and as an academic editor of PLOS ONE. She also has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of Urology at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., as well as in the Department of Public Health of Fu Jen Catholic University’s School of Medicine in Taiwan. Dr. Hsing has authored more than 270 peer-reviewed articles, written seven book chapters, and mentored over 50 post-doctoral fellows and scholars. Dr. Hsing currently serves as PI on the following funded projects: • A pilot study to assess the feasibility of building a population-based cancer registry in Accra, Ghana; • A study to assess patterns and trends of liver cancer in the Greater Bay area and in California and to project liver cancer burden in 20 years; • A pilot study in the Bay area to investigate non-viral factors of liver cancer; • A pilot study to investigate the clinical utility of ctNDA in post-treatment surveillance of liver cancer in Mongolia; • A whole genome sequencing study of aggressive thyroid cancer to identify novel prognostic factors; • A cohort study of 10,000 healthy individuals in Taiwan to investigate social and biochemical determinants of wellness (WELL Taiwan); • A cohort study of 10,000 healthy individuals in China to investigate social and biochemical determinants of wellness (WELL China); • A multiethnic cohort study of 550,000 individuals in Singapore to investigate social and biochemical determinants of wellness (WELL Singapore) She also serves as the Stanford PI of a consortium study of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of prostate cancer in the African countries of Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa. More recently, her her work involves big data studies using such resources as the National Health Insurance Research Database, SEER-Medicare, and other large administrative claims and medical record databases to identify clinically relevant questions to help inform clinical practice.