A brilliant and beloved scientist has left us too early. Dr. Robert Millikan, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, died Sunday, October 7. He was 55.

A member of the epidemiology faculty at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1993, Dr. Millikan’s research in cancer epidemiology brought hope for better understanding and treatment of breast cancer, particularly for young African-American women who disproportionately die from the disease.

“Dr. Millikan had a major impact on the field of cancer and molecular epidemiology,” said Andy Olshan, PhD, professor and chair of the epidemiology department and UNC Lineberger’s associate director of population sciences. “His innovations led the field and created opportunities for countless epidemiology and other public health students. The department has lost not only a great scientist and teacher but a wonderful friend and colleague.”

“Dr. Millikan and his colleagues conducted three waves of this country’s groundbreaking longitudinal study of breast cancer in African-American and Caucasian women,” said Shelley Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger. “Through the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), he sought to understand the complex reasons for poor breast cancer outcomes in African- American women. His seminal findings, published in 100 papers, have changed the face of breast cancer disparities research. The CBCS Phase III, which Dr. Millikan set in motion, will continue to add to our knowledge over the next decade, but the field has lost a brilliant and passionate advocate for women with breast cancer.”

A celebration of Bob’s life will be hosted by his friends and colleagues from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Research Center on Thurs, October 25th at 6:30 pm at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at 250 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC. Please enter on the right side of the Planetarium.