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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Research Training Opportunities in Infections and Immunoepidemiology


The mission of the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) is to discover infectious causes of cancer, to elucidate the determinants of malignancy for established oncogenic infections, and to clarify how alterations in immunity and inflammation relate to cancer risk. At least 15% of cancers are directly related to known infectious agents, and many more result from chronic inflammation or dysfunctional immunity.

Current areas of emphasis include malignancies among people with AIDS or organ transplant, Burkitt lymphoma, other lymphomas, Kaposi sarcoma, and cancers of the stomach, gallbladder, liver, cervix, other HPV-related sites, oral cavity, nasopharynx, and lung. In addition to evaluating the role of infectious agents in these tumors, we are interested in evaluating the role of immunity in cancer development. IIB houses the community-based Costa Rica HPV 16/18 Vaccine Trial and other large field studies designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the HPV 16/18 virus-like particle vaccine and examine other factors of etiological and immunologic relevance.

In collaboration with laboratory scientists, clinicians, and statisticians, IIB uses appropriate designs (cohort, case-control, registry matching, and others) to conduct multidisciplinary research studies in domestic and international sites. 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. Descriptive epidemiology studies aimed at quantifying and explaining national and international trends in cancer incidence and mortality are also a focus.

Working closely with tenured and tenure-track investigators, 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. Advice on scientific and career development is provided to all fellows. To discuss potential opportunities in your area of research interest, you may contact branch investigators directly. Meet fellows in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch.


Postdoctoral fellowships: Individuals must hold an MD or Ph.D. in epidemiology or related field. Individuals with strong quantitative skills are encouraged to apply. Familiarity with infectious diseases, immunology, and/or cancers associated with infectious agents is also desirable.

Predoctoral fellowships: Individuals should be enrolled in a doctoral program in epidemiology or related field with a desire to complete their dissertation in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch.

Application Process

Predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship applications in the branch are accepted on an ongoing basis. See the Fellowship Information page for an overview, qualifications, and application details. Branch-specific opportunities are listed below.

Current Training Program(s)

Postdoctoral and predoctoral positions in infectious and immunoepidemiology are available. To apply, visit the Fellowship Program page.

Selected Research Opportunities with Specific Investigators

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Surveillance and Descriptive Epidemiology