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Looking into a microscope


Faculty members in the Department of Epidemiology at UC Irvine are active in an array of key areas of research focusing on the effects of genetic, molecular and environmental factors affecting human health and disease. Specifically, our faculty interests include chronic disease epidemiology (e.g., epidemiological study of cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthmas, metabolic syndromes and brain aging processes), biostatistical methods (e.g., statistical genetics, health statistics and advanced epidemiological methods), reproductive epidemiology, genetics and molecular epidemiology, nutritional epidemiology and occupational epidemiology.

Our Goals

We are committed to expanding and integrating basic, clinical and epidemiologic programs.

  • We identify and characterize genes responsible for inherited predisposition to cancer.
  • We establish new approaches to study the interactions between genes and individual genetic variations and the environment to better understand cancer and other chronic disease risks.
  • We identify the causes of diseases in relation to environmental exposures, lifestyle conditions, behaviors and genetic factors.
  • We develop the infrastructure needed to establish effective interventions in individuals with inherited predispositions to cancer.
  • We are leaders in developing the informatics needed to collect, store, analyze, and integrate molecular, epidemiologic and clinical data.
  • We are similarly committed to improving the level of education of our future academic and clinical researchers. Their knowledge of sound epidemiologic principles serves the overall goal of improving public health at large.

Current Program Highlights

Precision Medicine All of US Logo

Dr. Hoda Anton-Culver will help lead an ambitious and far-reaching effort, The All of UsSM Research Program, formerly known as the PMI Cohort Program, will be a participant-engaged, data-driven enterprise supporting research at the intersection of lifestyle, environment, and genetics to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.  To reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, the program will enroll participants from diverse social, racial/ethnic, ancestral, geographic, and economic backgrounds, from all age groups and health statuses. Information from the program will be a broad, powerful resource for researchers working on a variety of important health questions. Importantly, the program will focus not just on disease, but also on ways to increase an individual’s chances of remaining healthy throughout life.

Cancer Prevention

Athena Breast Health NetworkThe Athena Breast Health Network: A groundbreaking clinical care program designed to revolutionize breast cancer care by more efficiently merging research, technology, financing and healthcare delivery in a way that reduces the time needed to translate research findings into patient care. It is expected that the resulting rich database of information will shape breast cancer care for decades to come.

The Cancer Surveillance Program of Orange County (CSPOC) was established in 1983 and is administered by the UC Irvine Department of Epidemiology for the purpose of providing a focus for scientists, clinicians, and members of the health-care community to promote cancer prevention and control in the county. Designated geographical regions in California serve as a collective of regional registries which collect data and report to the central, state registry. CSPOC is the model regional registry for the entire system, having improved the efficiency of data collection and by responding to local needs more efficiently than the state registry. Since 1992, the Department of Epidemiology has also administered the San Diego/Imperial Organization for Cancer Control (SANDIOCC) program.

Environmental Pollution and Chronic Diseases

Our environmental studies focus on the relationship of various disease symptoms to ambient air quality. Studies being conducted include repeated measurements of air pollutants and aeroallergens as they relate to daily asthma symptom severity using both clinical measurement tools and daily patient diaries for recording degrees of symptoms, medication use, spatial location and physical activity; exposure assessments involving air-monitoring systems inside and outside of subject homes to ascertain causal relationship with diseases established from pre-partum to more age-related chronic diseases; and disease connected to commonly available tobacco-related products. A video from an "On The Air" news station broadcast featured physician researcher Dr. Ralph Delfino talking about the effects of traffic-related chemical pollutants on chronic diseases.

New Approaches

Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute (GERI) is a campus-wide, collaborative institute with a rich tradition of studying the genetic and environmental factors leading to complex human diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. This institute brings together researchers from many scientific disciplines to more completely explore the medical essence of human health. It is one of only 21 organized research units (ORU) at UC Irvine and is home to well over 50 internationally recognized scientists working together and with the community via the Center for Cancer Genetics Research and Prevention to better protect the health of our children, families and friends.

The department also engages in multiple key collaborations with local, regional and national partners that enable groundbreaking innovations. If you are affiliated with a research institution interested in collaborative opportunities or would like more information about the department’s research programs, please contact Dr. Anton-Culver via e-mail or phone at 949.824.7401.