University of North Carolina, 1999, MPH (Epidemiology)
University of Kiel, 1998, PhD (Nutrition)
University of Kiel, 1994, MS (Human Nutrition and Food Science)
Dr. Peters’ research interest centers on the genetic, molecular and nutritional epidemiology of cancer and cardiometabolic traits. Within well-characterized and diverse study populations, her research explores the impact of common and rare genetic variants across the entire genome, as well as interactions between genetic variants and environmental factors (such as diet, exercise, smoking and aspirin use).
Since 2009, she has led the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO), which brings together more than 30 studies across North America, Europe and Australia. She has overseen genome-wide association scans for over 75,000 study participants and has undertaken a large-scale whole-genome sequencing studies for colorectal cancer.
Using GECCO data, Dr. Peters and her team guide colorectal cancer screening decisions based on an individual’s genetic risk profile and lifestyle risk factors. To understand the interplay between genes and the environment on colorectal cancer risk, she is conducting functionally informed genome-wide investigation of how genetic risk factors interact with many different lifestyle and environmental risk factors.
Within GECCO she is integrating genetic information about both the patient and his or her tumor to study how inherited genetic variation impacting mutations in the tumor. Utilizing the harmonized environmental and lifestyle risk factors data in GECCO she and her colleagues also investigating associations between environmental risk factors with different colorectal cancer subtypes
Working with several large, international collaborations, Dr. Peters and her team have identified 25 new locations in the human genome where people could have genetic variations that put them at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Findings could improve assessments of individual risk and provide clues about the underlying biology of this disease, one of the leading causes of cancer death.
Additionally, she co-leads the Population Architecture Using Genetics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study within the Women’s Health Initiative to investigate the impact of genetic variation in ethnically diverse populations. This work demonstrates that the European bias in genome-wide association studies leads to disparities in precision medicine and shows how the appropriate design and analysis of diverse populations can lead to numerous novel discoveries.