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Who is on the Panel of the Global Cancer Update Programme, and what do they do?
The Panel of the Global Cancer Update Programme comprises world-renowned independent experts in a variety of disciplines from across the world. The Panel’s role is to:
The expertise of the Panel is intended to cover areas including nutrition, physical activity, weight, cancer biology, epidemiology (especially cancer or nutritional epidemiology), cellular and other mechanisms of cancer development and progression, genetic and epigenetic aspects of cancer susceptibility and tumour behaviour, gene-nutrient interactions, public health, and cancer survivorship.
The following members and observers make up the Panel:
Prof Lord John Krebs, University of Oxford, UK
Lord John Krebs is Emeritus Professor of Zoology in the University of Oxford. His research area is behavioural ecology and he has published more than 300 research papers, reviews, articles and books.
Lord Krebs completed his undergraduate degree in Zoology (1966) and his DPhil (1970) at Pembroke College, Oxford. After a year as a Departmental Demonstrator in Ornithology at Oxford, he moved to the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor of Ecology (1970–73).
He spent a period at the University College of North Wales in Bangor as lecturer in Zoology (1973–75) before returning to Oxford as University Lecturer in Zoology in the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology. Between 1988 and 2005, he was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford.
Lord Krebs was Chief Executive of the UK Natural Environment Research Council from 1994 to 1999 and founding Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. From 2005–15 he served as Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.
He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2007, as an independent cross-bencher, served as Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010 to 2014, and was a member of the Energy and Environment Select Committee from 2015–19.
In 2019–20 he chaired a Select Committee inquiry on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment. He currently sits on the Science and Technology Select Committee.
He was President of the British Science Association in 2012–13. Between 2009 and 2017 he was a member of the UK Climate Change Committee and chaired its Adaptation Sub-Committee.
Lord Krebs is a scientific adviser to Marks & Spencer and Drax, and Chairman of Oxford Risk, a fintech spinout of Oxford University.
Lord Krebs has received many awards and honours, including a knighthood for services to science, 17 honorary degrees, Fellowship of the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the US Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).
Prof Matty Weijenberg, Maastricht University, Netherlands
Matty Weijenberg is Professor of Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Maastricht University.
Her work is part of the Programme Prevention within the GROW School for Oncology and Reproduction at the university.
The molecular epidemiological research conducted within her team is focused on lifestyle factors (including diet, physical activity and body composition) in relation to the incidence and prognosis of colorectal cancer, while accounting for tumour heterogeneity, genetic variation, and using molecular markers to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the associations under investigation.
Over the past years there has been a specific interest in lifestyle factors in relation to the quality of life of individuals who have survived colorectal cancer. The research is mostly embedded within two prospective cohort studies:
Matty studied at Wageningen University where she obtained a Master of Science in Human Nutrition in 1992 and was registered as an Epidemiologist (Dutch registration equivalent to Master degree) in 1993.
Between 1992 and 1995 she worked as a scientist at the Department of Chronic Diseases and Environmental Epidemiology, at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
She obtained her PhD degree from Wageningen University in 1996. She spent a year as an assistant professor of epidemiology on a Unilever Chair at the Department of Epidemiology at the Leuven Catholic University between 1996 and 1997.
She then developed her career in molecular epidemiology of colorectal cancer at Maastricht University.
Prof Monica Baskin, University of Pittsburgh, US
Monica L. Baskin is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Haematology/Oncology, Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement and Associate Director of Health Equity at the Hillman Cancer Centre.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from Emory University, and a Master of Science in community counselling and PhD in counselling psychology from Georgia State University.
She is a licensed psychologist whose research focuses on minority health and health disparities. Her research utilises community-based participatory methods to better understand and address individual, family and environmental factors associated with the prevention and control of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Her research has largely focused on African-American and rural communities in the Deep South. This work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and other regional and local foundations.
Dr Baskin is a trained and authorised facilitator of nationally recognised training programmes on unconscious bias for health professionals and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). She is also a past president of the Society of Behavioural Medicine (SBM).
Prof Sarah Lewis, University of Bristol, UK
I am a Professor of Molecular Epidemiology in the Department of Population Health Sciences within the Medical School at the University of Bristol, where I have worked since January 2004.
My research is focused on Mendelian randomisation and synthesising evidence on biological mechanisms for disease, in particular in relation to cancer and orofacial cleft.
I’m currently a work package lead and co-investigator of a The Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme funded by CRUK.
I hold two WCRF project grants as PI and am a co-applicant on two further WCRF grants awarded to Dr Brigid Lynch at the Victoria Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and Dr Kostas Tsilidis at the University of Ioannina in Greece and Imperial College London.
I am also the Bristol lead for a recently awarded EU Horizon2020 grant on gallbladder cancer, and the Mendelian randomisation expert and training lead for the mental health strand of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre grant.
> View the rest of the Expert Committee on Cancer Mechanisms
Dr Ellen Copson, University of Southampton, UK
Dr Copson is Associate Professor and honorary consultant in Medical Oncology at the University of Southampton, where she treats patients with early and advanced breast cancer.
Following a PhD studying the molecular genetics of heritable breast cancer, Dr Copson developed a particular interest in the genomic and modifiable host factors that influence the outcome of early breast cancer.
She is involved with research studies investigating the impact of breast cancer genomics and body composition/nutrition factors on oncological outcomes. Dr Copson is lead oncologist of the observational POSH study, a large national cohort study of young breast cancer patients, and of the CANDO 3 pilot study of body composition and chemotherapy toxicity, which is currently recruiting early breast cancer patients at cancer centres across the UK.
Dr Copson also acts as clinical adviser for several early breast cancer survivorship studies and is principle investigator for observational and interventional clinical trials in early and advanced breast cancer.
Dr Copson has been co-chair of the Wessex Molecular Tumour Board since 2017 and cancer lead of the West Midland, Oxford and South Central Genomic Laboratory Hub since October 2021.
She is chair of the National Oncogenetics Training Working Party and lead oncology adviser for the educational workstream of the CanGene-CanVar research program and the Health Education England GeNotes educational resource initiative.
Ellen was a member of the NIHR Breast Cancer Clinical Studies Group from 2013–19. During this period she set up the national Breast Cancer Trainees Research Collaborative Group, and remains senior chair of this group.
Locally, Ellen is oncology lead and deputy lead of year one of the University of Southampton medical degree course.
Prof Jaap Seidell, VU University, Netherlands
Professor Jacob Seidell was appointed as full professor (2002–present) and head of the Institute for Health Sciences (2003–13) at the VU University in Amsterdam.
Since 2013 he is university professor at the VU University and co-director of Sarphati Amsterdam, a multidisciplinary research institute that focuses on healthy development of children through healthier lifestyles and environments.
He obtained his MSc (1983) and PhD (1986) at the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands. He was awarded a senior research fellowship by the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for the period 1988–92.
From 1992–02 he was head of the Department for Chronic Diseases Epidemiology at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. He also worked in Sweden, the US and Canada.
His research focuses on the understanding of determinants of food choice and the effectiveness of (policy) interventions in the context of the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases in general, and of obesity in particular.
He has (co)-authored more than 500 scientific papers and chapters in books on these topics. He also writes columns and op-eds for national newspapers, and has published books on nutrition for the general public.
He has chaired committees on dietary guidelines for the general population as well as for people with diabetes or obesity, and he was a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization on these matters.
He has served as president-elect and president (1992–00) of the European Association for the Study of Obesity and was editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1996–06) and Public Health Nutrition (2006–14).
He is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW).
Prof Rajiv Chowdhury, Florida International University, US
Prof Rajiv Chowdhury is a medically trained global NCD epidemiologist. He works as chair of Global Health at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health at Florida International University.
Before embarking on his US-based role, Prof Chowdhury worked at the University of Cambridge and University of Exeter in the UK, as a reader and professor in Global Health, respectively.
At Cambridge, between 2008 and 2020, Prof Chowdhury co-established, as a founding PI, several pioneering NCD cohort studies in South/East Asia and served as the Scientific Director of a UKRI-funded £8.4m global NCD research programme in South Asia (CAPABLE).
Prof Chowdhury currently serves as a country expert in the Global Burden of Disease initiative. In addition, he maintains adjunct roles as a professor at the University of Bern in Switzerland and Executive Director at the South Asian Centre for Non-Communicable Disease Research in Bangladesh.
Prof Chowdhury’s research interests focus on investigating how environmental, societal and biological factors may influence the risks and inequities of non-communicable disease worldwide. His scientific publications have received >60,000 citations (his current publication h-index is 66) and informed multiple global guidelines. His work has also received significant media attention, appearing in the New York Times, CNN and BBC.
Prof Chowdhury was elected a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology in 2021, and a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology in 2016. In 2013, he received the Bill Gates Senior Prize for contributions to global health.
Prof Chowdhury holds a doctoral degree in Public Health from the University of Cambridge, where he had the titles of Commonwealth Scholar and Gates Cambridge Scholar.
He also received advanced academic training in Global Health at the Harvard and Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, in Global Nutritional Epidemiology at the Imperial College London, in Genetic Epidemiology at the Erasmus University Netherlands, and in Clinical Trials at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Lynette Hill, Public Representative, UK
Lynette has a wide range of administrative, communication, financial and counselling skills from her previous roles in the Civil Service. She first became aware of WCRF when working as part of an in-house Employee Assistance Programme and supporting staff with cancer diagnoses.
Working alongside people and seeing the impact of lifestyle choices has made her passionate about how diet, nutrition and exercise can help with many aspects of physical and mental health. She has found WCRF publications and advice to be an indispensable resource both personally and as a practitioner. She hopes to build on these experiences as the public representative of the Global Cancer Update Programme.
Dr Carolina Espina, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
Dr Espina is a staff scientist in the Environment and Lifestyle Epidemiology Branch at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO). She has 14 years of professional experience in cancer research and public health.
She is the Principal Investigator of the Latin American and the Caribbean Code against Cancer, the co-Principal Investigator of the update of the European Code Against Cancer, and leader of the World Code Against Cancer Framework to scale up the European Code model to other regions of the world.
She is the Scientific Secretariat of the consortium Cancer Prevention Europe, leading a variety of cancer prevention projects, dissemination research, knowledge transfer and capacity building.
Before IARC, she worked in WHO-HQ in Geneva and the Pan-American Health Organization in Peru. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology of cancer and a Master in Public Health (health promotion).
Dr Jason Montez, World Health Organisation, CH
Jason Montez is a Scientist in the Standards and Scientific Advice unit within the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
His work includes the development and dissemination of WHO nutrition guidelines with a focus on healthy diet.
Prior to joining WHO in 2013, Dr Montez was a consultant to WHO and other organisations, Director of Research and senior scientist in the private sector, and co-founder of a biotechnology start-up.
He received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from The Rockefeller University and MPH from New York University, both located in New York, USA.
Dr Mathilde Touvier, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), FR
Dr Mathilde Touvier is a Research Director at INSERM, principal investigator of the NutriNet-Santé cohort. She is the Director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team, EREN (U1153 Inserm / U1125 Inrae / Cnam / Sorbonne Paris Nord University).
She coordinates researches on the associations between nutrition and disease risk in primary prevention (eg PI of a European Research Council Consolidator Grant 2020–25 and of several projects funded by the French National Cancer Institute). In particular she coordinates an extended research programme on the impact of industrial food, food additives and food processing on health.
She is an author/co-author of >300 publications in peer-reviewed international journals. She is expert in several workshops at the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), European Commission (EU DG Health and Food Safety), Ministry of Health (PNNS), French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (France 2030 steering committee), Global Burden of Disease, and member of the Scientific Committee of WHO-IARC.
She is a member of the steering committee of the Nutrition and Cancer NACRe network. She has been awarded the Inserm Research Prize in 2019 and the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation Coup d’élan Research Prize in 2021. She has been appointed Professor at the College de France in Nutrition and Public Health for 2022–23.
Shalini Jayasekar Zürn, Union for International Cancer Control
Shalini Jayasekar Zürn is a senior advocacy manager with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). She is a biologist by training and has extensive experience on the issues of access to medicines.
Shalini gained experience in this topic by working with the World Health Organization on its Model List of Essential Medicines as well as Médecins Sans Frontières’s access campaign and other NGOs. She also has experience working with the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr Emily Tonorezos, National Cancer Institute, US
Emily Tonorezos serves as Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, part of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
In this position, Dr Tonorezos leads NCI’s efforts to address the challenges facing cancer survivorship and their families – to prevent or mitigate adverse effects and to improve the health and wellbeing of cancer survivorship from the time of diagnosis through the remainder of their lives.
Dr Tonorezos is a general internist, having earned her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and masters in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
She completed internal medicine residency and chief residency at Columbia University Medical Center, as well as a general internal medicine fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
We also have four Expert Committees that provide expertise on the four main areas of the Global Cancer Update Programme: Cancer Incidence; Cancer Survivorship; Cancer Mechanisms; and Obesity.
> Find out who sits on the Expert Committees