Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

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Integrative Molecular Epidemiology Research Group



Genomic and molecular epidemiology on cancer risk and clinical outcome

We are investigating the genetic susceptibility of aerodigestive tract cancer through genomewide scan and sequencing approaches. We are working with data on multiple cancers from large-scale consortium and population cohorts. We are assessing pathway enrichment and functional significance related to cancer etiology and prognosis through multidisciplinary analytical approaches. In addition to cancer-specific genomic discovery, we are studying commonality and pleiotropy across multiple cancers. We are also analyzing how the genetic variants influence the expression in tumor tissues, as well as the treatment response and survival.  These projects are funded by the National Institute of Health.

Risk prediction and early detection of fatal cancers

Lung and pancreatic cancers are two of the most fatal cancers. We are conducting international studies to identify blood-based biomarkers that can help to detect cancer early. This liquid biopsy approach is suitable screening for targeted population before clinical symptoms. We are integrating epidemiological, molecular and clinical data, and use machine learning approaches to build and validate comprehensive risk prediction models. Specifically for lung cancer, we are assessing the malignancy potentials of pulmonary nodule detected in the low-dose computed tomography. Our goal is to improve the survival of these fatal tumors and reduce mortality. These projects are funded by Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and Canadian Institute of Health Research.

To improve early detection of lung cancer in diverse population, Dr. Hung and her collaborators in BC Cancer, University Health Network and Laval University launched a new cross-province program focused on incidental pulmonary nodules.  The program is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and will leverage artificial intelligence to identify individuals at high risk of lung cancer based on their molecular profiles.  

International Lung Cancer Consortium

The International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) is an international group of lung cancer researchers, established in 2004 with the aim of sharing comparable data from ongoing lung cancer case-control and cohort studies. Our group serves as the ILCCO Data Repository and has harmonized data from over 70 lung cancer studies and a total of 1.2million study participants, including over 80,000 lung cancer patients.  These studies are from different geographical areas and ethnicities, and represent one of the largest epidemiological databases for lung cancer to date. The overall objectives are to achieve  greater power, especially for subgroup analyses, reduce duplication of research effort, replicate novel findings, and afford substantial cost savings through large collaborative efforts. Please see ILCCO website (

Childhood Cancer Studies: Wilms Tumor and Childhood Brain Tumors

We are conducting a North American Wilms Tumor Study based on case-control parent trio design. The main objectives are to understand the effects of parental and neonatal factors on the risk of Wilms tumor including parental lifestyle, medical history, genetic make-up and molecular profiles. For more information about North American Wilms Tumor Study, please visit the study website (

In addition, we are investigating the etiology of childhood brain tumors based on the Childhood Brain Tumor Epidemiology in Ontario (CBREO) Study, including transgenerational exposures from the parents, children’s early life determinants and their molecular profiles.

Developmental Origin of Health and Complex Diseases

Our group is actively working with the Ontario Birth Study (OBS), a research platform to facilitate the investigation early life events and their   relationships with health and complex disease later on in life. We are conducting longitudinal follow-up for children born in OBS at multiple time points  and assessing their neurodevelopment.  For more  information about OBS, please visit the study website (


As part of a multi-national intervention trial, our group is working on the Healthy Trajectory Initiative (HeLTI) - South Africa. For more information about HeLTI, please visit the program website (






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