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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Meredith Shiels, Ph.D.


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Meredith Shiels, Ph.D.

Meredith Shiels, Ph.D.

Organization:National Cancer Institute
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch
Address:NCI Shady Grove
Room 6E218


Dr. Meredith Shiels earned her M.H.S. and Ph.D. in cancer epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a Cancer Research Training Award postdoctoral fellow in 2009. She was awarded the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Fellowship for Women Scientists in Cancer Research that same year. In 2016 Dr. Shiels became a tenure-track investigator in IIB.

Research Interests

Dr. Shiels takes a descriptive approach to the epidemiological study of risk factors for cancer.

Cancer Incidence and Mortality Trends

In addition to evaluating trends in cancer incidence and mortality data, Dr. Shiels works to integrate novel information about risk factors and tumor characteristics into descriptive studies.

As a co-principal investigator of the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, she is actively pursuing her descriptive work on HIV and cancer while expanding her research focus to collaborate widely across DCEG to investigate other exposures and cancer sites utilizing data from SEER-Medicare and other large databases. Specific studies include an effort to quantify the effect of viral hepatitis on increasing hepatocellular carcinoma rates and the impact of obesity on increasing rates of late stage, large thyroid cancers.

Dr. Shiels applies a molecular epidemiological approach to the study of trends by applying tumor characteristics beyond primary site and histology. Emerging molecular, genetic, hormonal, and viral markers that influence cancer treatment and prognosis are mostly missing from standard reports to registries. Dr. Shiels seeks to address this limitation in registry data by integrating pathology report information into descriptive studies in collaboration with other DCEG investigators and epidemiologists at cancer registries.

Smoking and Tobacco

The rapid emergence of new tobacco products paired with the recent expansion of regulatory authority for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has resulted in increased demand for evidence on health effects. Dr. Shiels and others in the Division are collaborating with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pilot a study of urinary levels of tobacco-specific metabolites in participants in the Golestan Cohort who use more than one type of product, as well as those who use no tobacco. This effort will inform a future, large case-cohort study that is being designed to prospectively examine the association between these metabolites and smoking-related cancers.