Health has always been an area of interest for me. My research career began in the lab as a basic scientist investigating muscle development diseases in children. During this time, I developed an interest in public health and my career made a natural progression into epidemiology and population research. I became involved in a research project that examined the relationship between personal sun exposure behaviour, circulating vitamin D levels and prostate cancer risk. This project attracted me as I was interested in understanding the interactions between each of these factors from a molecular perspective. This has remained a strong focus of mine and continues to drive me in my current research.
My research is focused on identifying environmental, lifestyle and molecular risk factors of prostate cancer, including sun exposure, using various population-based datasets such as the NSW 45 and Up Study. Prostate cancer is one of those unique cancers where there are a few known risk factors, but they are all non-modifiable, like getting older or family history of this disease. So, one of my main aims is to find out what environmental and lifestyle factors might be associated with prostate cancer risk, with a particular interest in sun exposure. As part of my research, I am part of a team leading a randomised controlled trial testing if vitamin D supplementation can be used to prevent the spread of prostate cancer after diagnosis.
I hope my work will contribute to a comprehensive picture of the risk factors for cancer and uncover more ways that people can lower their individual risk.