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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch

Defining the relationships between diet, energy balance, hormones, tobacco, and cancer

The Metabolic Epidemiology Branch (MEB) conducts interdisciplinary research to understand the role of diet, energy balance, hormones, tobacco, and other exposures in causing and preventing cancer. We study how these exposures relate to a broad variety of cancers with researchers focusing on breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, liver, stomach, ovary, pancreas, and prostate. We use traditional epidemiological methods combined with a variety of molecular methods including genomic analysis, metabolomics, microbiomics, and molecular pathology.

Research Mission

MEB’s research mission is to define causal relationships between diet, energy balance, hormones, tobacco, and cancer. Learn more about MEB research areas.


Training and mentoring the next generation of scientists is a key component of MEB’s mission. We provide research training for tenure-track investigators, post-doctoral fellows, doctoral students, masters and post-baccalaureate students, visiting fellows, and summer interns. Meet the current MEB fellows and find out about our research training opportunities.

Tools, Methods, and Resources

MEB investigators develop Web-based instruments, software tools, and other resources to support epidemiological and translational research. Find out more about MEB tools, methods and resources.

Staff Spotlights

Neal Freedman

Neal Freedman, Ph.D., M.P.H., was awarded scientific tenure by the NIH. Dr. Freedman conducts multidisciplinary epidemiologic studies to investigate the role of lifestyle and metabolic factors in cancer etiology, in particular the mechanisms by which tobacco products cause cancer and the risk factors for liver cancer. Read more about Dr. Freedman and his research.