Vitamins & Carcinogenesis

This research program explores how components of the diet modify cellular pathways that lead to cancer and how other factors, such as genetic background and alcohol consumption, interact with nutrition to determine cancer risk. We are particularly focused on the B-vitamins and obesity as nutritional factors that determine cancer risk, and our ultimate aim is to develop strategies for cancer prevention. The laboratory focuses on colorectal cancer and breast cancer and utilizes animal studies, cell culture studies, and human studies to accomplish our research goals.

Lab Objectives
1. To define the role that availability of each of the one-carbon nutrients plays in determining the risk of common cancers and to determine the nature of the interactions between these nutrients in this regard.

2. To determine how genetic differences interact with dietary antagonists of one-carbon nutrients in determining cancer risk.

3. To define the cellular pathways by which obesity, and related factors, enhance cancer risk and to explore means of attenuating that risk.

VIDEO: Watch Dr. Mason describe his lab’s research.


Lab Members
Joel B. Mason, M.D.
Senior Scientist and Laboratory Director, Director, HNRCA Cancer Cluster, Professor of Medicine and Nutrition
Research focus: 1) 1-Carbon nutrients: modulation of carcinogenesis 2) Obesity: modulation of carcinogenesis 3) Colonic microbiome and carcinogenesis

Jimmy Crott, Ph.D.
Scientist I, Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Research focus: effects of folate depletion on mitochondrial DNA, DNA microarray technology

Sang Woon Choi, M.D., Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Research focus: 1-carbon nutrients, aging, and carcinogenesis; nutritional epigenetics and interactions between nutrient and gene

Zhenhua Liu, Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Research focus: 1) Epigenetic and genetic mechanisms that underlie the means by which nutrients and gene variants in 1-carbon metabolism modify cancer risk 2)    Mechanisms that mediate the effect of obesity on carcinogenesis 3) Biomarkers of cancer development

Gar-Yee Koh, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Xian Wu, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Luke Baccari, Budget and Grants Administrator
Abigail Thompson, Purchasing/Travel Assistant

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