Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., investigates the role of inflammation in cancer etiology, with a focus on biliary tract cancers. Gallbladder cancer is a particularly good model for understanding inflammation-related carcinogenesis since gallstones are present in the vast majority of gallbladder cancer cases and cause substantial inflammation in the gallbladder. Measuring infection and immune responses in biological specimens can provide novel insights into carcinogenesis and disease outcomes, and identify molecular subtypes associated with each. As principal investigator for the Shanghai Biliary Tract Cancer Study and the Chile Gallbladder Cancer Pilot Study, Dr. Koshiol evaluates the role of immune response and inflammation to elucidate etiologic mechanisms and identify cancer-related molecular pathways and targets that one day may be used in cancer prevention.
Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., seeks to uncover new risk factors for cancer through descriptive epidemiological studies to characterize trends in incidence and mortality. She works with colleagues in DCEG and at state cancer registries to apply a molecular epidemiological approach to these trends by integrating data on tumor characteristics.
Together with colleagues at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Shiels is conducting a pilot study of tobacco-specific metabolites in the urine of individuals with different tobacco usage patterns. This effort will inform a future, large case-cohort study to prospectively examine the association between these metabolites and smoking-related cancers.