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The 2011 Jeffrey M. Trent Lecture in Cancer Research

Cutting Through the Smoke: Dissecting Susceptibility to Lung Cancer

Christopher I. Amos, Ph.D.
Christopher I. Amos, Ph.D.

The ninth annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lecture in Cancer Research took place on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 at 1 p.m. The presenter was Christopher I. Amos, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Epidemiology, and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. The lecture was convened by the National Human Genome Research Institute's Division of Intramural Research and was held at the Masur Auditorium, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, Building 10 on the NIH campus.

About the Lecturer

Dr. Amos is an internationally recognized expert on the statistical analysis of inherited disease. He has made seminal contributions by developing new analytic methods and applying them to cancer genetics and human autoimmune diseases. Research conducted by Dr. Amos has ranged from investigating familial factors for prostate, head and neck, lung, and colon cancers, to the study of Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, a rare disorder predisposing to polyps and multiple cancers. He currently leads a large, genome-wide association study in lung cancer, which recently identified a novel locus influencing lung cancer susceptibility in a region of chromosome 15q that encodes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. His work on autoimmune diseases, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to scleroderma to primary biliary cirrhosis, has revolutionized our understanding of these conditions.

Dr. Amos's current work focuses on the identification of genetic factors for lung cancer and their interactions with smoking, utilizing a multi-pronged approach that includes epidemiologic studies of gene and environmental contributions to lung cancer risk, as well as cell-biologic and animal models. He heads the statistical genetic coordinating center for the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium, the informatics core for a study of a mutational model of childhood cancer, as well as the statistical genetics core of the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium.

Dr. Amos obtained his Ph.D. in Biometry at the legendary program at Louisiana State University (LSU) before undertaking postdoctoral training at the NIH Inter-Institute Medical Genetics Program, which is affiliated with the intramural programs of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). In 1993, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas (UT) MD Anderson Cancer Center and the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, achieving the rank of full professor at the latter institution immediately upon completion of his postdoctoral fellowship. Dr. Amos is a past president of the International Genetic Epidemiologic Society, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the International Genetic Epidemiologic Society Leadership Award and the Margaret and James A. Elkins Jr. Faculty Achievement Award in Cancer Prevention at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.

More information about Dr. Amos and his research can be found at:

About the Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research

Dr. Trent was the National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) founding Scientific Director, serving in this role for more than nine years. His leadership and vision was instrumental in establishing NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research as one of the premier research programs in the world devoted to genetics and genomics. In recognition of his significant contributions to the research environment at NIH, NHGRI established the annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lecture in Cancer Research in 2003. This lecture is given by a prominent cancer researcher who brings the kind of energy, creativity and enthusiasm to cancer research that Dr. Trent has exemplified throughout his career.

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Last Reviewed: November 8, 2012