Olshan named to UNC Lineberger leadership post

Andrew F. Olshan, PhD, has been appointed Associate Director of Population Sciences at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. This senior leadership position is responsible for overseeing the development of population-based cancer research and its integration throughout the Cancer Center programs. The position also oversees several Cancer Center core resources as well as two established scientific programs, Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention and Control. Dr. Olshan will continue to serve as head of the Cancer Epidemiology Program and directs two cores, the Biospecimens Processing Facility and Rapid Case Ascertainment Core.

Dr. Olshan chairs the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (SPH) where he is a professor of epidemiology.  He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the UNC School of Medicine. 

“Dr. Olshan is an outstanding, nationally-recognized cancer epidemiologist who has conducted ground breaking population-based studies in adult cancers as well as leading two large NCI-funded studies of childhood cancer,” said Dr. Shelley Earp, UNC Lineberger Director.  “In addition to his major role as chair of one of the country’s premier Epidemiology Department, he has taken the time to fully interact with our prevention and control faculty who are experts in cancer outcomes, health communication, behavioral intervention and community-based participatory prevention research.  In this capacity, he has earned the respect of population science faculty from across the university.  He has played a particularly active role in developing our Integrated Cancer Information Surveillance Systems and with prevention faculty on HealtheNC as well as leading our interaction with the NC Central Cancer Registry.  It is this public health research perspective that makes Dr. Olshan an ideal leader for the UNC Lineberger’s Population Science Program.”

Dr. Olshan earned his PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Washington and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical genetics at the University of British Columbia.  He serves on the Editorial boards of the journals Cancer Medicine and Cancer Causes and Control and is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology, Cancer Research, and the International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics.  He has served on NCI’s Board of Scientific Counselors, NCI site visit teams, the NCI primary epidemiology study section, and on the external advisory boards of several comprehensive cancer centers.  He has also served on Institute of Medicine and National Research Council expert committees. 

His major research interests include the environmental and genetic epidemiology of cancer and reproductive, perinatal and pediatric outcomes.  He has directed two NC studies of head and neck cancer and three national studies of the etiology of childhood cancer.  He currently leads a national genetic epidemiology study of neuroblastoma and the North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.  In addition to his Cancer Center membership, he is a fellow of the Carolina Population Center and a member of the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility.  He joined the UNC faculty in 1991 from the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Dr. Olshan has directed 18 masters and 17 doctoral students since arriving at UNC.  Dr. Olshan edited two books and over 190 peer-reviewed publications, and has obtained more than 25 million dollars in funding.