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Parveen Bhatti

Senior Scientist

 

E-mail: pbhatti@bccrc.ca

Telephone: 604-675-8055
Fax: 604-675-8180
675 W 10th Ave., Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3
 

Research Roles:

 

Education:

  • Post-doctoral fellowship (Epidemiology), US National Cancer Institute, 2009
  • PhD (Environmental Health), University of Washington, 2006
  • MSc (Occupational and Environmental Hygiene), University of British Columbia, 2000
  • BSc (Cell Biology & Genetics), University of British Columbia, 199

 

Research Interests:   

  • Nightshift work and cancer
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Epigenetic mediators of cancer risk
  • Children’s environmental health
  • Radiation epidemiology

Given its high prevalence, the potential for shift work to cause cancer is an important public health concern. Despite strong experimental evidence, the epidemiologic evidence for associations between shift work and cancer has been relatively limited, which is likely attributed to difficulties in assessing this complex exposure over the long latency period between exposure and cancer occurrence. By conducting studies of immediate biomarkers among people actively engaged in shift work (e.g. urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine), I have worked to circumvent issues related to disease latency and provide valuable population-based data on the carcinogenicity of shift work.

The study of gene-environment interactions holds tremendous potential to identify susceptible subpopulations that may benefit from increased disease surveillance and focused delivery of interventions. I have published multiple papers on interactions between germline genetic variation and occupational exposures on cancer risk. More recently, I have become focused on understanding the role of epigenetics, particularly DNA methylation, in the etiology of cancer. As with studies of germline genetic variation, epigenetic studies have the potential to reveal important markers of susceptibility, but, in addition, they can reveal markers of exposure and early effect that can be exploited to develop public health protection strategies.

In cooperation with the China CDC, I am launching a birth cohort study to evaluate the impact of in utero exposures to environmental pollutants on childhood vaccine response. The potential for ubiquitous pollutants to reduce vaccine efficacy is a critical global health concern. For example, in China, where hepatitis B infection is endemic and is responsible for high rates of liver cancer, large-scale childhood vaccination efforts may be undermined by high pollution exposures. This study will directly inform the need to modify vaccination practices to optimize disease prevention efforts. My long-term goal is to extend follow-up of the cohort so that it may continue to serve as a unique scientific resource.