The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles
Andrew T. Chan
Title & Affiliation:
Daniel K. Podolsky Professor of Medicine, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Director of Epidemiology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.
Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: Cancer prevention and interception, with a focus on pharmacologic prevention, early detection/screening, diet and lifestyle, and the gut microbiome.
Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: Motivated by personal experiences with colorectal cancer in my family, I pursued a career in clinical gastroenterology, since the gastroenterologist’s role in screening positions them squarely on the front lines of cancer prevention. However, my clinical experience also highlighted the inherent limitations of this strategy. Colorectal cancer screening is challenging to implement, resource-intensive, and not available to all populations. Thus, I became interested in pursuing a career focused on improving the early detection and interception of cancer through diet, lifestyle, or medications as well as novel early detection methodologies to prevent and intercept cancer.
Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: The current paradigm of cancer prevention research that focuses on “one-size-fits-all” approaches does not account for biological heterogeneity. I am working to shift this paradigm by leveraging mechanistic insights to develop molecularly specific biomarkers that can be used to better target preventive interventions or identify novel agents. By incorporating our growing understanding of the molecular underpinnings of cancer, I hope to more comprehensively inform precision prevention strategies to maximize their likelihood of reaching the clinic.
Q: What do you do for fun outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?
A: Running, cooking, and traveling.