In November 2015, Neal D. 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. He is also DCEG’s principal investigator for the Prostate, Lung, Colon, and Ovary (PLCO) Cohort Study.
In following the dynamics of the tobacco epidemic, Dr. Freedman has shown that alterations in use patterns and the emergence of new tobacco products have affected cancer risks and burden. He is currently pursuing studies to evaluate the cancer risks of products such as electronic delivery systems and water pipes. His work has shown that tobacco products are even worse than previously thought and affect numerous organ systems. To better understand the physiological effects and health risks of tobacco, he is conducting one of the first studies of the effects of tobacco on the oral microbiome, with co-investigators Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Anil Chaturvedi, Ph.D.
Many hypotheses link lifestyle, including diet, to liver cancer. In order to investigate the association of dietary and environmental exposures, Dr. Freedman has leveraged the prospective cohorts available in DCEG, whose complementary features permit a broad evaluation of potential liver cancer risk factors. He has made several novel discoveries, including associations with coffee and meat intake and is currently pursuing studies that examine the interrelationships of diabetes and fatty liver disease.