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University of Pittsburgh Recruits Renowned Cancer Epidemiologist

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations


The University of Pittsburgh has appointed Jian-Min Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., as the associate director for cancer control and population sciences and the leader of the Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). In addition, Dr. Yuan will serve as visiting professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH).

“Dr. Yuan’s exceptional leadership and research skills will help us develop our epidemiology program, moving us toward our goal of becoming one of the pre-eminent programs in the country,” said Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers.

Dr. Yuan received his medical degree in 1983 and his Master of Public Health degree in 1986 from Shanghai Medical University, China, and a doctorate in epidemiology in 1996 from the University of Southern California. An accomplished investigator, he is recognized for his contributions in the area of cancer epidemiology and the role of dietary and other environmental exposures, genetic variations and gene-environmental interaction in the cause and prevention of cancers of the lung, liver, colon, rectum, breast and urinary bladder. His research aims to develop cancer prevention strategies.

“Dr. Yuan has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the causation and prevention of cancer,” said Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., chair of GSPH’s Department of Epidemiology and professor of epidemiology and medicine. “We are honored to have such a fine cancer epidemiologist among our faculty.”

The author of more than 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Yuan has received significant funding from the National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute (NCI), including a research training grant in nutrition and cancer. Currently, he is the principal investigator of four NCI-funded research grants.

He oversees research groups of approximately 80,000 Chinese men and women in Shanghai and Singapore to maintain a biospecimen bank and assess the roles of genetic and dietary factors in the cause of cancer. In another study, he is focused on the role of the tobacco carcinogen nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK) and its metabolites, along with other environmental and genetic factors, in prediction of lung cancer risk. Dr. Yuan also studies the effectiveness of oral supplementation of 2-phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which is present in cruciferous vegetables, on reduction of risk markers for lung cancer in smokers, and the effectiveness of oral supplementation of green tea polyphenols on reduction of risk markers for breast cancer.

Dr. Yuan comes to Pittsburgh from the University of Minnesota, where he served as professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.