Director Lisa Cannon-Albright, PhD, oversees several current genetic studies including prostate, lung, colon, pancreas, brain, and bladder cancers and pelvic organ prolapse, as well as the continued study of the genetics of melanoma and breast cancer. In 1995, the Division of Genetic Epidemiology (with help from collaborators) identified a familial melanoma susceptibility gene known as p16. The origins of Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Utah can be traced back to 1973, when then PhD student Mark Skolnick initiated the study of genetics of cancer in Utah families. At the time, it was believed that most cancer were caused solely by environmental factors with no familial or genetic component. The program has accomplished much in its history, including the discovery of the BRCA1, BRCA2, and CDKN2A cancer predisposition genes. Faculty members have a combined 250+ published peer-reviewed journal articles, and collectively the team has executed over 100 grants and contracts with collaborators around the world, including 35 University of Utah departments. Collaborators include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veteran's Affairs, and various foundations around the United States.
Dr. Cannon-Albright was awarded the Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award in 2015.