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Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Chapel-Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Hursting is interested in diet-gene interactions relevant to cancer prevention, particularly the molecular and hormonal mechanisms underlying energy balance-cancer associations.

Professor, Nutrition
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Epidemiology

Area of Interest

Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, is an international leader in the area of nutrition, obesity, metabolism and cancer. His lab focuses on the molecular and metabolic mechanisms underlying obesity-cancer associations, and the impact of obesity- energy balance modulation (eg, calorie restriction and exercise) or pharmacologic agents on cancer development, progression, and responses to chemotherapy. Primarily using genetically engineered mouse models of breast cancer (recently in parallel with several clinical trials), colon cancer and pancreatic cancer, Hursting has identified the IGF1/Akt/mTOR and NF-kB signaling pathways as key targets for breaking the obesity-cancer link. His publications establish causal links between obesity, cancer and several systemic factors (including IGF-1, insulin, leptin and IL-6) and components of their downstream signaling pathways (including mTOR and NF-kb).

Find publications on PubMed

Awards and Honors

  • Plenary Speaker, International Agency for the Study of Obesity-Nutrition and Cancer Conference, Valencia, Spain, 2010
  • World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, Continuous Update Panel member, 2010-present
  • Keynote Speaker, Johns Hopkins University Breast Cancer Program Retreat, Baltimore, MD, June 2010
  • NIH Merit Award for Excellence in the Measurement, Analysis, and Release of Nationally Representative Data On Serum Biomarkers From The Insulin-Like Growth Factor Axis, 2009
  • Co-Chair, American Association for Cancer Research National Meeting, 2009
  • World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Mechanisms Working Group Co-Chair for Expert Report: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, 2004-2007
  • Malcolm Trout Nutritional Science Award, Michigan State University, 2007
  • NIH Merit Award for Leadership/Excellence in Obesity and Cancer Research, 2005

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Headshot of Stephen Hursting