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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch

Improving health by conducting high impact epidemiological research on infectious agents and cancer

Investigators in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) conduct multidisciplinary studies of carefully selected domestic and foreign populations, with the goal of clarifying the relationship of infectious agents, especially viruses, to human cancer and other conditions. (Cell illustration credit: Kristy Whitehouse)

Research Mission

IIB’s research mission is to discover infectious causes of cancer, to elucidate the determinants of malignancy for established oncogenic infections, to uncover novel infection-cancer associations, and to clarify how alterations in immunity and inflammation relate to cancer risk.

IIB investigators collaborate with researchers from a variety of disciplines in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to epidemiologic and clinical data, many IIB field studies include an extensive biological specimen collection component that allows for careful molecular testing to better define both exposures and outcomes of interest

Learn more about specific IIB research areas.


Working closely with tenured and tenure-track investigators, IIB fellows take lead responsibility for analyzing and summarizing previously collected data. Senior staff assist them in writing manuscripts and bringing these to publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Fellows become familiar with the entire IIB portfolio and are encouraged to participate in on-going and newly proposed studies within the Branch and throughout the Division. Meet the current IIB fellows and learn about research training opportunities in IIB.

IIB Highlights

Kreimer AR, Sampson JN, and Porras C, et al. Evaluation of durability of a single dose of the bivalent HPV vaccine: The CVT trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 2020 Oct 1.

Noone AM, Pfeiffer RM, Dorgan JF, et al. Cancer-attributable mortality among solid organ transplant recipients in the United States: 1987 through 2014. Cancer 2019 Aug; Epub Apr 29.

Shiels MS, Engels EA, and Yanik EL, et al. Incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma among older Americans attributable to hepatitis C and hepatitis B: 2001 through 2013. Cancer 2019 Aug; Epub Apr 12.

McGee EE, Jackson SS, Petrick JL, et al. Smoking, alcohol, and biliary tract cancer risk: A pooling project of 26 prospective studies. J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 May 24; Epub ahead of print.

Shiels MS, Islam JY, Rosenberg PS, et al. Projected cancer incidence rates and burden of incident cancer cases in HIV-infected adults in the United States through 2030. Ann Intern Med 2018