Biomarkers of Early Detection and Prevention

Led by Susan Neuhausen, Ph.D., The Morris & Horowitz Families Professor in Cancer Etiology & Outcomes Research, and professor in the Division of Biomarkers of Early Detection and Prevention in the Department of Population Sciences was created to reflect the expanding research endeavors of current and new faculty in the department and to promote collaborative, multidisciplinary research.

The research focus of this division is to identify and characterize biomarkers for early detection of disease and for cancer-specific subtypes in order to develop new prevention strategies, test biomarkers that identify aggressive cancers before they become invasive, and reduce the impact of cancer on women and men in Los Angeles and throughout the world.


Jessica Clague DeHart, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Clague DeHart’s work centers on the genetic and molecular epidemiology of women's cancers. Specifically, her research focuses on examining the biological mechanisms underlying associations between modifiable risk factors and cancer prevention and survival. Exercise trials in breast cancer survivors are currently underway. She is also in the process of developing new molecular-based exercise trials for patients during treatment and prevention trials for noncancer populations.
Mark LaBarge, Ph.D.
LaBarge's team specializes in developing human cell systems for understanding why aging is a major risk factor for breast cancer. The objectives of his research program are to generate a comprehensive understanding of the micro-environmental and tissue-level changes in breast that arise with age, and then develop a functional understanding of how those changes alter mammary gland homeostasis, contribute to breast tumor genesis and modulate activity of therapeutics.
Susan L. Neuhausen, Ph.D.
Neuhausen’s research is primarily focused on identifying genes and environmental stressors that predispose to disease and that cause disease progression. To perform this research, she has established collaborations with researchers around the world. Current studies in her laboratory are on breast, ovarian and prostate cancers and celiac disease. The hope is that this knowledge can be used to design both preventive and therapeutic strategies, and to identify at-risk individuals for preventive strategies.
Victoria L. Seewaldt, M.D.
Seewaldt, the Ruth Ziegler Chair in Population Sciences, directs efforts to provide breast cancer education, free breast cancer screening and treatment, mentorship of young minority scholars and a forum for community-partnered trials. Clinically, Seewaldt aims to empower women at high breast cancer risk to be full partners in developing wellness strategies to promote personal health.
Christopher Sistrunk, Ph.D.
Sistrunk serves as a principal investigator, utilizing his formal training as a molecular and cellular toxicologist to study the initiation and progression of cancer. In addition, he studies the role the environment plays on genetic imprinting. He also serves as an educator and mentor to the next generation of research scientists.