Andrew F. Olshan


Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Chair, Epidemiology

Campus Office: McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Room 2104E
Campus Phone Number: (919) 966-7424

Dr. Olshan's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Olshan's publications in PubMed

Dr. Olshan's CPC publications

Olshan’s research has focused on community, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors and gene-environment interaction in the etiology of reproductive outcomes, birth defects, and cancer. His research on molecular and genetic epidemiology has employed population and community designs and has incorporated a range of environmental, household, lifestyle, and social factors. He has been active in research examining the relationship between common genetic variants (single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) and the risk of preterm birth and small-for-gestational age (SGA) and low birthweight outcomes using the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition (PIN) study housed at the CPC.

Olshan directs the CDC-funded North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention which conducts a national study of environmental and genetic risk factors for common birth defects. Recent research led by the UNC team has focused on the impact of body size, air pollution, maternal occupation, and genetic factors. Olshan also directs several studies of factors influencing cancer incidence and mortality. For example, his study of head and neck cancer in North Carolina examined the role of obesity, diet, and genetic factors. He now directs the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Phase 3, which is a longitudinal cohort study of biological, individual, and community factors associated with breast cancer mortality. Olshan serves as a crucial link between CPC’s research program and the broader community at UNC interested in population and genetic interactions. He is the Faculty Director of UNC BioSpecimen Processing Facility, which houses specimens collected in some of CPC’s longitudinal surveys, including Add Health. He and Barbara Entwisle collaborated on a DBSB R25 grant to develop training at the intersection of two largely independent scientific traditions: molecular epidemiology and population science. He is also Associate Director for Population Sciences at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Olshan’s research will examine genetic factors associated with the occurrence of birth defects using national study samples, including a unique twin resource. He will also expand his research on the integration of biology, behavior, and community factors in determining the incidence and outcomes of cancer including breast cancer.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Population Health

  • Reproductive Health

Information updated on 1/10/2018

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