Dr. Ahn's research goal is to improve our understanding of the inter-relationship of diet, genes, and other environmental factors in the causation of cancer. Her recent work has pointed to potential links between human microbiome (i.e., microbial genomics) and oro-gastrointestinal cancers. Following these leads, Dr. Ahn is leading studies of the relationship of the human oral microbiome to pancreatic cancer risk (NIH/NCI R01) and is leading a study of the human oral microbiome and esophageal cancer risk (NIH/NCI U01) as PI. With her NIH/NCI R03 grant, she made a novel discovery that gut microbiome diversity is decreased in colorectal cancer patients, compared to healthy subjects (JNCI, 2013). Building on this important result, she is developing the `NYU Human Microbiome and Colorectal Tumor (HMAC) study to expand her studies on the inter-relationship of gut microbiota and dietary factors in colorectal cancer and advanced adenoma (NIH/NCI R21). She is also co-investigator on a study of the oral microbiome and head and neck cancer risk (NIH/NCI R01). In addition, she is a project leader of the NYU Abu Dhabi Public Health Institute grant to examine the relationship of the microbiome with preclinical cardiovascular disease in that country. A related area of research focus is the influence of nutrition on susceptibility to environmentally-induced disease. Dr. Ahn has established two significant collaborations with environmental scientists in the Department of Environmental Medicine to study the role of dietary factors in air pollution-related risk for cardiovascular disease. In one NIH study (NIH/NIEHS R21), she is using the 500,000 person NIH-AARP Cohort to test the hypothesis that mortality risks due to airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) are more pronounced in people who are under oxidative stress due to obesity and low antioxidant nutrient consumption as PI. In a complementary study (NIH/NIEHS R21), she is leading a study to test whether air pollution is associated with pre-clinical biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. She is also a co-investigator of a study on air pollution and mortality (NIH/NIEHS R01). Dr. Ahn received her PhD at Cornell University, and completed her postdoctoral studies at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI/NIH. She has reported her research in 65 peer-reviewed papers, including first/senior authored publication in Nature Genetics, JNCI, Cancer Research, Human Molecular Genetics, and the Archives of Internal Medicine. The quality of her research has also been recognized by significant awards and honors, including NCI-Outstanding Research Paper Awards, the NCI-Intramural Research Award for Innovative Research, the NCI-Fellowship Achievement Award for Outstanding Accomplishments, the AACR-Women in Cancer Research-Leventhal Scholar Award, an AACR Career Development Award, and Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Award. Her scientific work has received broad media coverage, including reporting by the Washington Post, ABC, CBS, Fox, US News & World Report, and Reuters.
Associate Professor, Department of Population Health
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine
Associate Director, Population Sciences, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center
Director, Epidemiology Program, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center
Fellowship, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
PhD from Cornell University
Gut: journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology. 2016 Oct 14; ?-?
ISME journal. 2016 Oct; 10(10):2435-2446
Microbiome. 2016 Dec 30; 4(1):69-69
Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013 Dec 18; 105(24):1907-1911
Carcinogenesis. 2012 May; 33(5):1055-1058
Epidemiology. 2016 Mar; 27(2):291-298
Environmental health perspectives. 2016 Apr; 124(4):484-490
Human molecular genetics. 2010 Jul 01; 19(13):2739-2745