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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Mahboobeh Safaeian, Ph.D.


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Phone: 301-496-6641

Spotlight on Investigator

Read Mahboobeh Safaeian's profile (pdf) in the July 2009 Linkage newsletter.

Mahboobeh Safaeian, Ph.D.

Mahboobeh Safaeian, Ph.D.

Organization:National Cancer Institute
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch
Address:NCI Shady Grove
Suite 6E224


Dr. Safaeian received a Ph.D. in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2006. Subsequently, she joined the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch in DCEG as a Sally Rosen Kaplan Fellow, where she focused her research on viral and host co-factors for cervical carcinogenesis. In 2008, Dr. Safaeian joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch as a tenure-track investigator. In addition to studying the viral and host co-factors associated with HPV infection and cervical carcinogenesis, she has expanded her research to the study of the immunological responses to HPV natural infection and HPV vaccination.

Research Interests

  • Natural history studies of the sero-epidemiology of HPV infections
  • Sero-epidemiology of HPV infection after vaccination
  • Evaluation of cross-protective immune responses in women vaccinated with HPV16/18 vaccine
  • Association of viral variants with cervical precancer and cancer
  • Role of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with cervical precancer and cancer among HPV-positive women

It is well established that HPV is a necessary but not sufficient cause of cervical cancer. While infection with carcinogenic HPV types is a necessary cause of cervical cancer, infection with carcinogenic types of HPV is extremely common relative to cancer incidence. It is postulated that exposure to co-factors might increase the risk of HPV-infected cells progressing to precancer and invasive cancer. Dr. Safaeian is involved in evaluating the host and viral co-factors for cervical precancer and cancer by examining rigorously the role of Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct), and inflammation in cervical carcinogenesis among HPV-infected individuals. Additionally, she is involved in evaluating the role of HPV types and variants, and exploring their relative carcinogenicity using molecular epidemiology. The other major area of research Dr. Safaeian is pursuing focuses on host innate and humoral immune responses to HPV infection pre and post vaccination. She is building a comprehensive program of research on the serologic response to HPV natural infection and HPV vaccination.