Stanford Cancer Institute Directory
Population Sciences Profiles
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Kenneth Fong Professor and Professor of Bioengineering, of Genetics, of Medicine (General Medical Discipline), of Biomedical Data Science and, by courtesy, of Computer Science
Russ Biagio Altman is a professor of bioengineering, genetics, medicine, and biomedical data science (and of computer science, by courtesy) and past chairman of the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computing and informatics technologies to problems relevant to medicine. He is particularly interested in methods for understanding drug action at molecular, cellular, organism and population levels. His lab studies how human genetic variation impacts drug response (e.g. http://www.pharmgkb.org/). Other work focuses on the analysis of biological molecules to understand the actions, interactions and adverse events of drugs (http://feature.stanford.edu/). He helps lead an FDA-supported Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science & Innovation (https://pharm.ucsf.edu/cersi). Dr. Altman holds an A.B. from Harvard College, and M.D. from Stanford Medical School, and a Ph.D. in Medical Information Sciences from Stanford. He received the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine, IOM) of the National Academies. He is a past-President, founding board member, and a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a past-President of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT). He has chaired the Science Board advising the FDA Commissioner, currently serves on the NIH Director’s Advisory Committee, and is Co-Chair of the IOM Drug Forum. He is an organizer of the annual Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (http://psb.stanford.edu/), and a founder of Personalis, Inc. Dr. Altman is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Clinical Informatics. He received the Stanford Medical School graduate teaching award in 2000, and mentorship award in 2014.
Associate Professor of Medicine (Primary Care and Population Health) and of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center
Dr. Rebecca A. Aslakson is an Associate Professor at Stanford University with appointments in the Department of Primary Care & Population Health in the Palliative Care Section as well as the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. With a Summa Cum Laude B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, an MD from Harvard Medical School–MIT, and an MSci degree with Distinction from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, Dr. Aslakson completed anesthesia residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and surgical critical care fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she then was on faculty from 2008-2017. In 2013, Dr. Aslakson obtained her PhD in Clinical Investigations from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with her dissertation concerning integration of palliative care in intensive care units. Triple boarded in anesthesia, surgical critical care, and palliative medicine, Dr. Aslakson is an active researcher and clinician; her goal is to improve delivery of palliative medicine, particularly to perioperative and critically ill populations. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and chapters and received research awards from multiple national funders such as AHRQ, PCORI, the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, and the National Palliative Care Research Society. Dr. Aslakson serves on national committees for professional societies including the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). Dr. Aslakson has received national awards including the 2015 AAHPM Early Career Investigator Award and the 2014 ASA Presidential Scholar Award. Dr. Aslakson clinically attends in the Stanford Medical Center Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit in Stanford, CA and lives in Palo Alto, CA with her husband and two young sons.
Professor of Biomedical Data Science, of Genetics and, by courtesy, of Biology
Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante is an internationally recognized leader in the application of data science and genomics technology to problems in medicine, agriculture, and biology. He received his Ph.D. in Biology and MS in Statistics from Harvard University (2001), was on the faculty at Cornell University (2002-9), and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. He is currently Professor of Biomedical Data Science, Genetics, and (by courtesy) Biology at Stanford University. Dr. Bustamante has a passion for building new academic units, non-profits, and companies to solve pressing scientific challenges. He is Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics (CEHG) and Inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Data Science. He is the Owner and President of CDB Consulting, LTD. and also a Director at Eden Roc Biotech, founder of Arc-Bio (formerly IdentifyGenomics and BigData Bio), and an SAB member of Embark Veterinary, the Mars/IBM Food Safety Board, and Digital Ventures.
Director, Center for Population Health Sciences, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Medicine (Primary Care and Population Health), of Biomedical Data Science, of HRP (Epidemiology) and Senior Fellow at SIEPR
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Genetics
The Curtis laboratory couples innovative experimental approaches, high-throughput omic technologies, statistical inference and computational modeling to interrogate the evolutionary dynamics of tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. To this end, Dr. Curtis and her team have developed an integrated experimental and computational framework to measure clinically relevant patient-specific parameters and to measure clonal dynamics. Her research also aims to develop a systematic interpretation of genotype/phenotype associations in cancer by leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and robust data integration techniques. For example, using integrative statistical approaches to mine multiple data types she lead a seminal study that redefined the molecular map of breast cancer, revealing novel subgroups with distinct clinical outcomes and subtype-specific drivers.
Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medical Disciplines) at the Stanford University Medical Center
I am a family doctor and physician scientist interested in translational research to improve preventive health and public health strategies to improve population health. My research focuses on the integration of clinical and translational research into nicotine dependence using genomic and neuromaging investigations to identify and validate biomarkers for smoking cessation, to reduce health disparities in cardiovascular disease and cancer, and to employ community engagement and clinical implementation science approaches to fill critical gaps in preventive medicine. Recent work includes the identification of a genome-wide significant genetic marker for smoking intensity in African Americans that is associated with pharmacogenetic treatment response for smoking cessation and risk of lung cancer in African Americans. I am also an investigator in the GWAS and Sequencing Consortium of Alcohol and Nicotine Use (GSCAN) and the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Consortium and the Stanford Precision Health for Ethnic and Racial Equity (SPHERE) Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center. Current and future research is translating evidence in systematic reviews and meta-analyses to evidence-based guidelines, investigations of publication bias and proposed reforms to improve the fidelity of research through open science, clinical implementation sciences for precision health, and training the primary care workforce in core competencies of genetic medicine to enable precision health for all. Born and raised in Seattle, I love the west and Pac-12 football, fishing, sailing, marathon running and rowing.
Rehnborg Farquhar Professor
For the past 20 years most of my research has been focused on investigating the potential health benefits of various dietary components or food patterns, which have been explored in the context of randomized controlled trials in free-living adult populations. Some of the interventions have involved vegetarian diets, soy foods and soy food components, garlic, omega-3 fats/fish oil/flax oil, antioxidants, Ginkgo biloba, and popular weight loss diets. These trials have ranged in duration from 8 weeks to a year, with study outcomes that have included weight, blood lipids and lipoproteins, inflammatory markers, glucose, insulin, blood pressure and body composition. Most of these trials have been NIH-funded. The most recent of these was an NIH funded weight loss diet study - DIETFITS (Diet Intervention Examining The Factors Interacting with Treatment Success) that involved randomizing 609 generally healthy, overweight/obese adults for one year to either a Healthy Low-Fat or a Healthy Low-Carb diet. The main findings were published in JAMA in 2018, and many secondary and exploratory analyses are in progress testing and generating follow-up hypotheses. In the past few years the long-term interests of my research group have shifted to include two additional areas of inquiry. One of these is Stealth Nutrition. The central hypothesis driving this is that in order for more effective and impactful dietary improvements to be realized, public health professionals need to consider adding non-health related approaches to their strategies toolbox. Examples would be the connections between food and 1) global warming and climate change, 2) animal rights and welfare, and 3) human labor abuses (e.g., slaughterhouses, agriculture fields, fast food restaurants). An example of my ongoing research in this area is a summer Food and Farm Camp run in collaboration with the Santa Clara Unified School District since 2011. Every year ~125 kids between the ages of 5-14 years come for 1-week summer camp sessions led by Stanford undergraduates and an Education Director to tend, harvest, chop, cook, and eat vegetables...and play because it is summer camp! The objective is to study the factors influencing the behaviors and preferences that lead to maximizing vegetable consumption in kids. A second area of interest and inquiry is institutional food. Universities, worksites, hospitals, and schools order and serve a lot of food, every day. If the choices offered are healthier, the consumption behaviors will be healthier. A key factor to success in institutional food is to make the food options to "unapologetically delicious" a term I borrow from Greg Drescher, a colleague and friend at the Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA). Chefs are trained to make great tasting food, and chefs in institutional food settings can be part of the solution to improving eating behaviors. In 2015 I helped to initiate a Stanford-CIA collaboration that now involves dozens of universities that have agreed to collectively use their dining halls as living laboratories to study ways to maximize the synergy of taste, health and environmental sustainability. If universities, worksites, hospitals and schools change the foods they serve, they will change the foods they order, and that kind of institutional demand can change agricultural practices - a systems-level approach to achieving healthier dietary behaviors. My long-term vision in this area is to help create a world-class Stanford Food Systems Initiative and build on the idea that Stanford is uniquely positioned geographically, culturally, and academically, to address national and global crises in the areas of obesity and diabetes that are directly related to our broken food systems.
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics) and of Biomedical Data Science
Professor (Research) of Pediatrics (Adolescent Medicine) and, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology)
Dr. Halpern-Felsher is a developmental psychologist whose research has focused on cognitive and psychosocial factors involved in adolescents’ and young adults’ health-related decision-making, perceptions of risk and vulnerability, health communication, and risk behavior. Her research has focused on understanding and reducing health risk behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol and marijuana use, risky driving, and risky sexual behavior. Her research has been instrumental in changing how providers discuss sexual risk with adolescents and has influenced national policies regulating adolescent and young adult tobacco use. As part of the Tobacco Center's of Regulatory Science (TCORS), she is the PI on an NIH/NCI and FDA-funded longitudinal study examining adolescents’ and young adults’ perceptions regarding as well as initiation, continuation, and cessation of current and new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Dr. Halpern-Felsher is also the founder and director of the Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, an online curricular aimed at reducing and preventing youth tobacco use. Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research and committee work have been instrumental in setting policy at the local, state, and national level. In California, Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research was cited in support of school-based tobacco education initiatives within California’s Tobacco Education Research Oversight Committee’s 2012 Masterplan, and again in their 2017 Masterplan. This Masterplan sets funding priority areas for research, education and intervention for California. Dr. Halpern-Felsher is also collaborating with the California Department of Education to develop, implement and evaluate new school-based tobacco prevention and education materials. At the national level, Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s research was highlighted in the 2012 Surgeon General Report, ”Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults,” and Dr. Halpern-Felsher contributed to the chapter on Clinical interventions: The role of health care providers in the prevention of youth tobacco use. Dr. Halpern-Felsher has been a member of five Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Sciences committees focusing on adolescent and young adult health risk behavior. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and currently serves on the Council for the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR), and Co-Chairs the SPR Mentoring Committee. In 2007, Dr. Halpern-Felsher became one of the Program Directors for the NIH/NIDDK-funded Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP), High School Program. She has received two NIH 5-year grants to coordinate this program thus far. For this Step-Up Program, Dr. Halpern-Felsher mentors and supervises 22-25 junior and senior high school students each year. These high students are recruited throughout the country, and conduct their 8-10 weeks of research in their hometown. In addition to mentoring high school students, Dr. Halpern-Felsher has been a mentor to over 75 graduate and medical students and postdoctoral fellows.