Cari Kitahara, Ph.D., studies cancer risks associated with occupational exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation from recent and emerging medical practices and procedures. Much of this work currently focuses on assessing occupational radiation exposure and radiation-related risks to medical workers who conduct or assist with nuclear medicine and fluoroscopically-guided interventional procedures. Findings from these studies can inform current radiation protection practices for medical radiation workers and, more broadly, improve our understanding of the impact of low-to-moderate dose radiation exposure on cancer risk in other occupationally-exposed groups and in patients who undergo medical radiation procedures. Dr. Kitahara serves as co-principal investigator of the U.S. Radiologic Technologists Study (USRT) and principal investigator of the U.S. Nuclear Medicine Technologists Study which is currently in the pilot stage.
Dr. Kitahara also investigates more broadly the etiology of radiosensitive tumors, including thyroid cancer and glioma. Her research utilizes data from large prospective studies to address long-standing and new hypotheses on non-radiation related risk factors. As one example of this work, Dr. Kitahara recently developed an international pooled database of 22 prospective studies in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia for the evaluation of anthropometric factors and other lifestyle-related exposures in relation to thyroid cancer risk. The large and diverse sample allows for a detailed and comprehensive assessment of risk factors for thyroid cancer by histologic type.
Dr. Kitahara received her M.H.S. and Ph.D. in cancer epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She conducted her doctoral and postdoctoral work in REB and was promoted to research fellow in 2011 and tenure-track investigator in 2015.