Cancer epidemiology, Genetic and molecular epidemiology, Gene-environment interaction
Dr. Chang’s research interests are in cancer and genetic epidemiology. Dr. Chang has been conducting research on lung cancer, childhood leukemia, and adult brain tumor in the United States for the past six years before coming to NHRI. His work encompasses candidate gene studies, gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, genome-wide association studies, and haplotype and pathway analyses. Dr. Chang’s current research projects include epidemiologic studies of cholangiocarcinoma and oral cancer. Dr. Chang also hopes to continue his research on childhood leukemia. Dr. Chang’s research goals are: 1) incorporating genetic information and molecular biomarkers to improve cancer risk and survival prediction; 2) studying gene-environment interaction on cancer risk at the biological pathway level; and 3) studying the causes of childhood leukemia and other childhood cancers, focusing on the role of early immune development and maternal-fetal interaction
RESEARCH ACTIVITIES & ACCOMPLISHMENT
Dr. Chang has been conducting research on lung cancer, childhood leukemia, and adult brain tumor in the United States for the past six years before coming to NHRI.
Although lung cancer has a well-established cause (smoking), it is still a major public health problem world-wide because of continued high incidence and poor survival. The poor survival is partly to due to late stage at diagnosis. Toward his future goal of incorporating genetic markers into cancer risk models to identify high risk individual for screening, Dr. Chang has studied the genetic polymorphisms of DNA repair genes to understand how genetics can modify the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
Childhood leukemia, the most common cancer in children, presents a different set of problems. There is a working hypothesis that childhood leukemia may partly arise as a result of abnormal immune responses to microbial challenges due to a lack of immune priming early in life. However, no definite causal risk factors have been established. Dr. Chang’s research investigating the association between immune function genes and childhood leukemia will help to further elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying the development of childhood leukemia.
Adult brain cancers (malignant gliomas) have no known risk factors other than high-dose ionizing radiation or hereditary syndromes. Dr Chang is a co-first author of a genome-wide association study of adult brain tumor that identifies inherited variants that may be important for glioma susceptibility (Nature Genetics 2009).