Public Health Sciences Division

Fighting Cancer by Focusing on Population Research

Public Health Science scientists are focused on finding creative and innovative ways to learn about the causes of cancer, determine how it can be detected early or prevented, establish new methodologies to design and assess biomedical research, and create computational models to address biological questions.

We are identifying strategies to reduce the incidence of and mortality from cancer and other diseases. Their research includes observational studies and intervention trials to evaluate strategies for reducing the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovary, cervix, mouth, esophagus and lung, among others. Emerging population research trends include cancer risk factors; personalized medicine, screening and prevention; health disparities; the unmet needs of cancer survivors; and health care costs.

Coordinating centers based in the division serve to expand research opportunities, including incorporating population science expertise with outcomes/survivorship research, expanding expertise to other cancers and building partnerships with outside organizations to extend access to populations and data. Our scientists are active in interdivisional programs and have also played key leadership roles in the programs for breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovary cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

The division is funded primarily through investigator-led grants and contracts.

Dr. Cyrus Ghajar, of Fred Hutch and SCCA, speaks during the Northwest Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference.

Partners in Promoting Good Health

Public Health Sciences researchers have a broad range of experience and expertise and use a multidisciplinary approach to achieve a better understanding of the links between cancer and its possible triggers, from diet and lifestyle to environmental and genetic factors.

Dr. Mario Kratz in his office at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Photographed for the 2012 Annual Report.

Prioritizing Prevention

We explore new ways to determine the causes of cancer, study early detection and prevention, create new methodologies for biomedical research, and build computational models to answer biological questions.

Providing State-of-the-Art Facilities and Services for Researchers

Key to the conduct of population-based studies is the ability to engage participants and expertly collect research data from them throughout their participation in a study.  We facilitate this by providing services through the Nutrition Assessment and Prevention Center shared resources.  Both are open to Fred Hutch and external researchers.

nutritionist on phone consultation with researcher

Nutrition Assessment

The Nutrition Assessment shared resource (NASR) provides comprehensive support to investigators who include dietary assessment in their research protocols. Nutritional epidemiologists at Fred Hutch established this resource in 1993, which to date has provided support to hundreds of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health. 

NASR uses the University of Minnesota’s Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) software for data entry and nutrient analysis.  This is the most accurate and comprehensive software available for nutrition research.

exercise research technician monitoring study participant

Prevention Center

The Prevention Center shared resource (PCSR) was founded with the goal of facilitating transdisciplinary, collaborative research focused on the prevention and mitigation of disease.  Since 2004, over one-hundred studies have used the Prevention Center services in the conduct of exercise interventions, nutrition interventions, or prevention-based clinical interventions.  The facility offers well-trained, specialized staff and an inviting space for study participants to participate in population-based research.



We collaborate and coordinate with research programs both within and outside Fred Hutch. We develop new methods for a range of studies and build models of carcinogenesis and other biological processes.



Cancer Prevention

We use an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the causes, detection and control of cancer. Through a variety of studies, we conduct research in cancer screening, early detection, risk prediction, prevention strategies and survivorship.



Computational Biology

Our researchers develop computational methods and tools to address biological questions. We have expertise in transcription/translation control, adaptive-immune system dynamics and phylogenetics.




Our team studies factors that increase the risk and recurrence of cancer and other diseases. Our research includes identifying prevention behaviors, minimizing occurrence and increasing quality of life for diagnosed patients.

Translational Research

We discover and translate molecular and epidemiological findings for use in both the lab and the clinic.



Making Every Day Healthy

Learn about our scientific leadership, job openings, upcoming events and seminars hosted by the Public Health Sciences research team.

Read Our Faculty Members Latest Scientific Publications

Latest Public Health Sciences News

All Public Health Sciences news
Fred Hutch’s Dr. Ross Prentice retires Longtime scientist and statistician contributed to Women’s Health Initiative, cancer prevention research and much more January 20, 2023
New computational tools widen horizons for liquid biopsies Methods allow scientists to use gene regulation patterns to detect cancer subtype in cell-free DNA January 12, 2023
Eight Fred Hutch teams win Evergreen Fund awards Research projects with commercial partnership potential receive grants of up to $200K December 13, 2022
Fred Hutch/UW/Seattle Children’s Cancer Consortium breast cancer researchers receive grants Breast Cancer Research Foundation supports projects including new imaging tracer, better risk prediction for luminal B subtypes, anti-inflammatory vaccine and more November 17, 2022