In May, Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., M.P.H., was awarded scientific tenure by the NIH. Dr. Abnet earned a Ph.D. in environmental toxicology from the University of Wisconsin in 1998 and an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota in 1999. He joined NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Division of Cancer Prevention in 1998. Dr. Abnet became a tenure-track investigator in the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch in 2005, and has served as one of four acting Branch Chiefs since 2011.
Dr. Abnet's work focuses on the etiology of esophageal and gastric cancer and the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic contributions to the development of these diseases. He is interested in the differing incidence and etiologic factors for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, across diverse populations that share high rates of these two malignancies. He currently leads studies in China, Iran, and Kenya to carry out this work. Furthermore, Dr. Abnet is participating in an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group on “Helicobacter pylori eradication as a strategy for preventing gastric cancer."
Dr. Abnet’s work also explores the microbiome and its associations with cancer, as well as risk factors that may affect oral health and its potential association with disease. For example, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), he is conducting one of the first studies aiming to characterize the effects of tobacco on the oral microbiome within a nationally-representative study population, with his co-investigators Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D., and Neal Freedman, Ph.D., M.P.H. This work is funded via a competitive grant process, though a collaboration between the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products and the NIH.
Dr. Abnet is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award (2006 and 2009), DCEG Intramural Research Award (2006), NIH Merit Award (2008), DCEG Outstanding Mentor Award (2009), as well as a Research Highlights Award lecture, which he presented at the 2011 NCI Intramural Scientific Retreat.