Member Biography


Hongmei Nan

Hongmei Nan, M.D., Ph.D.

980 West Walnut Street
R3-C252,
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5188

Phone: (317) 278-3907
Fax: (317) 274-3443

Research Program Membership

Research Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology
IU School of Public Health

My major research interest is in the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cancer. My studies are focused on investigating the roles of genetic susceptibility; epigenetic factors, such as methylation; biomarkers; and environmental factors, and their potential interactions in the etiology and prevention of cancer. I evaluate genetic susceptibility using both candidate gene and genome-wide association study (GWAS) approaches. My research also includes studies in Molecular Pathological Epidemiology (MPE). In a recent study aiming to evaluate the effect of aspirin use, the 8q24 cancer susceptibility SNP rs6983267 identified from the GWAS, and their interaction on the risk of colorectal cancer according to CTNNB1 alterations, we found that the joint protective effects of regular use of aspirin and the T allele of rs6983267 on the risk of colorectal cancer was limited to tumors with activated CTNNB1. Since functional significance of risk alleles identified by GWAS remain largely uncertain, a GWAS-MPE approach should be one of the next steps after GWAS. As a member of the Colorectal Cancer GWAS Consortium (GECCO) of 15 well-characterized prospective cohorts and case-control studies, I am currently leading a GECCO project entitled ???gene-environment interaction analysis between aspirin/NSAID use and common genetic variants across the genome???. In this study, we identified two promising genetic loci that modify the chemopreventive effect of aspirin/NSAIDs on colorectal cancer. I am also interested in identifying genetic pathways that are related to cancer risk using post-GWAS approach. Hence, in collaboration with statisticians and dermatologists at IU, I have recently submitted a proposal which aims to evaluate the genetic associations of gene co-expression modules in the skin with cutaneous basal cell carcinoma risk using improved pathway-based approaches. I believe that future studies should be focused on combining populations-based and animals-based studies or in vitro functional studies to confirm the findings from both approaches and thus may translate the novel findings into health benefits or clinical procedures. Hence, a successful outcome of population research will need active collaboration between epidemiologists, statisticians, and clinicians. As a director of Epidemiology Consultation Core at IU Simon Cancer Center, I will promote collaborative interactions between basic scientists, clinicians, epidemiologists, and statisticians; thus facilitating joint research projects and grant funding proposals. For example, I have served as a co-investigator for a recently submitted R01 proposal which will be pursuing in collaboration with pathologists and clinicians at IU. Also, I am planning to develop more active collaborative cancer-related projects in collaboration with IU investigators.

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More Publications »

O.C.N. - Chungbuk National University, South Korea 2002

M.D. - Yanbian University, Yanji China 1994