Professor Douglas Easton is currently Director of the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology within the Department of Public Health and Primary Care. He studied Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge before gaining a PhD in Genetic Epidemiology at the University of London in 1992. In 1995 he set up the Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge, where he was a CR-UK Principal Research Fellow from 2001-2011. He was awarded Professorship of Genetic Epidemiology in 2003.
The main research interest of the Centre is in genetic susceptibility to common cancers and the aim of Professor Easton’s research group is to identify and characterise genetic variants associated with cancer risk, with particular emphasis on the hormone related cancers. Much of their recent work has focused on the analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to characterise common susceptibility variants, and the characterisation of susceptibility loci through fine-mapping. The group has conducted GWAS in breast cancer, prostate, endometrial and testis cancer. Prof Easton’s group also co-ordinates three large international consortia: the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), Prostate Cancer Association Group to Investigate Cancer Associated Alterations in the Genome (PRACTICAL a collaboration with Professor Ros Eeles – team leader at ICR, London-) and, in collaboration with Dr Antoniou and Dr Georgia Chenevix-Trench (head of Cancer Genetics at QIMR Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia), the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). Professor Easton’s current work includes evaluating the role of rarer variants in breast and prostate cancer, and susceptibility to cancer-related traits including breast density, steroid hormones and telomere length.
For a number of years Professor Easton has lectured for part of the MPhil in Epidemiology and currently mentors for PhD students. He also lectures for part of the Natural Sciences Tripos Biochemistry Course in the Department of Biochemistry.
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