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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Sarah Jackson, Ph.D., M.P.H.—A Fellow’s Perspective

Sarah S. Jackson, Ph.D., joined the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) as a postdoctoral fellow in May 2018, after earning her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Jackson began her fellowship working with Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., senior investigator in IIB, focusing on the risk factors of hepatobiliary tract cancers in women, and with Thomas R. O’Brien, M.D., M.P.H., senior investigator in IIB, studying the role of IFLN4 in several infectious diseases. In addition to her initial studies, Dr. Jackson has pursued her own research interests in sex and gender differences in cancer incidence with Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D., senior investigator in the Clinical Genetics Branch, and cancer risk in transgender individuals with Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., tenure-track investigator in IIB. 

“We know that transgender individuals have poorer health outcomes due to discrimination and stigma, however there’s very little known about the health risks in this population. Gender identity is not accurately captured in current cohorts or national surveys. In addition, the field of epidemiology is starting to recognize the influence of sex and gender differences on health including incidence of disease, response to treatment and survival—it’s important to tease apart these differences,” said Dr. Jackson.

In addition to cultivating a diverse research profile, Dr. Jackson has held many leadership roles including co-chair of Dfel CARES, co-editor-in-chief of the DCEG Fellows Editorial Board, a member of the Fellows’ Training Symposium planning committee, and sat on intramural review boards. She was also selected for the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women Scientists (2019), and received numerous awards including the DCEG Intramural Research Award (2019), NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (2019), NCI Director’s Intramural Innovation Award (2020), and the William G. Coleman Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award (2020). 

“I can’t say enough about the excellent training and mentorship I’ve received at DCEG. My mentors and the Office of Education have been essential to my professional development with the countless trainings, seminars, and symposiums they offer. Everyone I’ve worked with is so supportive, knowledgeable and generous with their time,” reflected Dr. Jackson.

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