An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Rick Kittles

Rick Kittles, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Health Equities, Comprehensive Cancer Center; Professor and Director, Division of Health Equities, Department of Population Sciences
Research Focus
  • Population sciences
  • Health disparities
  • Prostate cancer genetics
  • Race and genetics
  • Health disparities
  • Ancestry-informative genetic markers
Rick Kittles, Ph.D., is professor and founding director of the Division of Health Equities within the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope. He is also associate director of health equities in the comprehensive cancer center.
Dr. Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African-Americans. His research has focused on understanding the complex issues surrounding race, genetic ancestry and health disparities. He received a Ph.D. in biological sciences from George Washington University in 1998. His first faculty appointment was at Howard University where he helped establish the National Human Genome Center at Howard University.
Over the last 20 years, he has been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers, and how genetic ancestry can be quantified and utilized in genomic studies on disease risk and outcomes. His work has shown the impact of genetic variation across populations in pharmacogenomics, biomarker discovery and disease gene mapping.
Although a major focus of Dr. Kittles’ work over the past years has been on measuring and utilizing West African admixture in studies of genetic disease among African-Americans, presently he is expanding his research focus to further include Latino and Native American populations to further enhance the robustness of the experimental design of his research studies.
Dr. Kittles has National Institutes of Health-funded projects to study genetic and environmental modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in order to improve our understanding of the role serum Vitamin D plays in health disparities. He is leading a multisite collaboration studying modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and their role on prostate cancer susceptibility.
In 2010, Dr. Kittles was named in Ebony magazine’s “The Ebony Power 100.” Ebony selected the nation's top 100 African-American "power players" in sports, academia, religion, business, environment, science and tech, entertainment, arts and letters, fashion, politics, media, activism and health. In March of 2012, Dr. Kittles presented the Keynote Address to the United Nations General Assembly, “International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” Recently, he was named by The Huffington Post as one of “50 Iconic Black Trailblazers Who Represent Every State In America.”
Dr. Kittles has published over 160 research articles on prostate cancer genetics, race and genetics, and health disparities.


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

  • Richards Z, Batai K, Farhat R, Shah E, Makowski A, Gann PH, Kittles R, Nonn L. (2017) Prostatic compensation of the vitamin D axis in African American men. JCI Insight. 2(2):e91054. DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.91054. PMID: 28138564
  • Batai K, Murphy AB, Ruden M, Newsome J, Shah E, Dixon MA, Jacobs ET, Hollowell CM, Ahaghotu C, Kittles RA. (2016) Race and BMI modify associations of calcium and vitamin D intake with prostate cancer. BMC Cancer. 17(1):64. DOI: 10.1186/s12885-017-3060-8. PMID: 28103838
  • Nyenhuis SM, Krishnan JA, Berry A, Calhoun WJ, Chinchilli VM, Engle L, Grossman N, Holguin F, Israel E, Kittles RA, Kraft M, Lazarus SC, Lehman EB, Mauger DT, Moy JN, Peters SP, Phipatanakul W, Smith LJ, Sumino K, Szefler SJ, Wechsler ME, Wenzel S, White SR, Ackerman SJ. (2016) Race is associated with differences in airway inflammation in patients with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. pii: S0091-6749(16)31381-1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.10.024. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28069248
  • Nelson SM, Batai K, Ahaghotu C, Agurs-Collins T, Kittles RA.(2016) Association between Serum 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D and Aggressive Prostate Cancer in African American Men. Nutrients. 9(1). pii: E12. DOI: 10.3390/nu9010012. PMID: 28036013
  • Mahmoud AM, Al-Alem U, Dabbous F, Ali MM, Batai K, Shah E, Kittles RA. (2016) Zinc Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Case-Control Study and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 11(11):e0165956. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165956. PMID: 27824905
  • Murphy AB, Nyame YA, Batai K, Kalu R, Khan A, Gogana P, Dixon M, Macias V, Kajdacsy-Balla A, Hollowell CM, Catalona WJ, Kittles R. (2016) Does prostate volume correlate with vitamin D deficiency among men undergoing prostate biopsy? Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. DOI: 10.1038/pcan.2016.41. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27725729
  • Rand KA, Song C, Dean E, Serie DJ, Curtin K, Sheng X, Hu D, Huff CA, Bernal-Mizrachi L, Tomasson MH, Ailwadhi S, Singhal S, Pawlish KS, Peters ES, BLock CH, Stram A, Van Den Berg DJ, Edlund CK, Conti DV, Zimmerman TM, Hwang AE, Huntsman S, Graff JJ, Nooka A, Kong Y, Pregja SL, Berndt SI, Blot WJ, Carpten JD, Casey G, Chu LW, Diver WR, Stevens VL, Lieber MR, Goodman PJ, Hennis AJ, Hsing AW, Mehta J, Kittles RA, Kolb S, Klein EA, Leske CM, Murphy AB, Nemesure B, Neslund-Dudas C, Strom SS, Vij R, Rybicki BA, Stanford JL, Signorello L, Witte JS, Ambrosone CB, Bhatti P, John EM, Bernstein L, Zheng W, Olshan AF, Hu JJ, Ziegler RG, Nyante SJ, Bandera EV, Birmann BM, Ingles SA, Press MF, Atanackovic D, Glenn M, Cannon-Albright L, Jones B, Tricot G, Martin TG, Kumar SK, Wolf JL, Deming SL, Rothman N, Brooks-Wilson A, Rajkumar SV, Kolonel LN, Chanock SJ, Slager SL, Severson RK, Janakirman N, Terebelo HJ, Brown EE, De Roos AJ, Mohrbacher A, Colditz GA, Giles GG, Spinelli JJ, Chiu BC, Munshi NC, Anderson KC, Levy J, Zonder JA, Orlowski RZ, Lonial S, Camp NJ, Vachon CM, Ziv E, Stram DO, Hazelett DJ, Cozen W. (2016) A meta-analysis of multiple myeloma risk regions in African and European ancestry populations identifies putatively functional loci. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. pii: cebp.1193.2015. PMID: 27587788
  • Wang JC, Lai WR, Traore EJ, Liu J, Sholl AB, Mandava SH, Maddox MM, Mitchell GC, Viriyasiripong S, Silberstein JL, Kittles R, Lee BR. (2016) Racial Disparities in Histology and Short-Term Renal Functional Outcomes Following Robotic Nephron-Sparing Surgery. Clin Genitourin Cancer. (16) 30216-6. PMID: 27554583
  • Nyame YA, Murphy AB, Jordan G, Gogana P, Hollowell CM, Catalona WJ, Kittles R. (2016) J Clin Oncol. pii: JCO689299. PMID: 27458284
  • Klimentidis YC, Arora A, Zhou J, Kittles R, Allison DB. (2016) The Genetic Contribution of West-African Ancestry to Protection against Central Obesity in African-American Men but Not Women: Results from the ARIC and MESA Studies. Front Genet. 7:89. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00089. eCollection 2016. PMID: 27313598
In The News
An Expert's Voice
Rick Kittles

Opening up the world of science to kids from underrepresented communities

Michael Caligiuri

Researchers detail new findings at 2019 AACR meeting

City of Hope News

City of Hope scientists showcase new findings at the 2019 AACR meeting