Population Science

Our multi-disciplinary department conducts innovative research focused on understanding
cancer risk factors and how to improve the quality of life and survival for people
diagnosed with cancer.

Our Objectives 

The Population Science Department uses the collective expertise of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, behavioral scientists, research analysts, and study management experts to better understand the behavioral, social, physical, environmental, and societal factors that affect cancer prevention, risk, treatment, and survivorship. We do this by comprehensively collecting and evaluating data from surveys and human biological samples, and by employing behavior-change theories.  For instance, we:

  • Design, conduct, and analyze large prospective cohort studies called the ACS Cancer Prevention Studies.
  • Build and manage a robust biorepository of blood, buccal cells (from the inside of the cheek), urine, stool, and tumor tissue samples.
  • Identify and assess effective ways to help people change behaviors (such as by quitting smoking or being more active) before and after a cancer diagnosis.

The department has a long history of conducting seminal research on cancer risk factors, resulting in pivotal or landmark studies and insights that influence the direction of future cancer studies from investigators across the world.

Alpa Patel, PhD, leads the department as the Senior Vice President of Population Science, bringing over 20 years of experience at the American Cancer Society.

population science teams and work

We conduct and analyze large-scale population and behavioral intervention studies and maintain a large biospecimen collection.


Interested in Our Work?

See easy-to-read summaries of some recent studies: Research Highlights.