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Shelley S. Tworoger, PhD

Associate Center Director, Population Science

As Associate Center Director of Population Science, Dr. Shelley Tworoger is responsible for overseeing research and administrative operations in the division, which is made up of two research departments: Cancer Epidemiology and Health Outcomes and Behavior. She works closely with the CCSG programs of the same name to enhance collaborations of population science researchers with basic, translational, and clinical scientists.

Population science research at Moffitt Cancer Center spans the cancer continuum including epidemiologists, who study the causes and mechanisms of cancer development and progression, as well as clinical psychologists, health economists, and community-based participatory researchers, who develop interventions to increase uptake of cancer prevention behaviors and improve quality of life in cancer patients.

Dr. Tworoger is also the Principal Investigator of the Total Cancer Care protocol, the Moffitt Cancer Center's institutional biobanking protocol. All patients at Moffitt are able to join this research study, which collects tumor tissue, blood and other biological specimens, medical data, and information about patient reported outcomes to facilitate population science research. This study supports research across a wide range of cancer types and is the cornerstone of observational research at Moffitt.

The underlying goal of Dr. Tworoger's research program is to improve prevention recommendations and better identify women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer by elucidating the etiology behind the development and progression of these cancers. Her integrative approach incorporates multiple aspects of prospective cohort studies (questionnaires, medical records, biomarkers, tumor tissue) in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including biostatisticians, pathologists, basic scientists, and oncologists.

Specifically, Dr. Tworoger is conducting research to: (1) Elucidate how the host macroenvironment both drives tumor development and heterogeneity and interacts with the tumor microenvironment to impact progression of ovarian and breast cancers, (2) Identify and evaluate novel factors associated with ovarian cancer risk and survival, incorporating information about markers tumor heterogeneity,(3) Develop and lead consortial research approaches, including being PI of the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium, (4)Identify how the biologic consequences of psychosocial stress and distress influence carcinogenesis, and (5) Elucidate the hormonal etiology of breast cancer and integrating biologic markers into risk prediction models, with an ultimate goal of identifying approaches to integrate risk prediction into the clinic.

Dr. Tworoger received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington. Following this, she completed a fellowship in Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She was on faculty at Harvard Medical School for 14 years. At Moffitt, Dr. Tworoger is a Senior Member of the Cancer Epidemiology CCSG research program.