Derek Brown, Ph.D., M.S.

Derek Brown, Ph.D., M.S.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG)
Entry Year

Doctoral Degree

Ph.D., Biostatistics, University of Texas Health Science Center (2019)

Master's Degree

M.S., George Washington University (2014)

Research Interests

Disease Detection; Disease Association; Biomarkers; Biostatistics

Primary Preceptor/Branch

Mitchell Machiela, Sc.D., M.P.H., Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch (IETB), Human Genetics Program, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics (DCEG)

Program Spotlight

Fellows Advisory Board Leaders Receive NCI Director’s Award

February 14, 2022

The annual NCI Director’s Awards recognize exceptional individual and group performance or special efforts in support of NCI’s biomedical research mission. This year at the NCI Director’s Awards ceremony hosted on February 14, 2022, Cancer Prevention Fellows, Drs. Derek Brown, Alexandra Budenz, Ian Buller, Michelle Doose, Sydney O’Connor, Heather Platter, Esmeralda Ramírez-Peña, Naoise Synnott, and Jacqueline B. Vo were honored with NCI Director’s Emerging Leader Awards. This achievement was well-earned through their leadership of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program’s (CPFP) Fellows Advisory Board (FAB) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This FAB leadership group was nominated by CPFP’s Learning & Development Specialist, Ms. Ann Maxson, and CPFP’s Director, Dr. Lisa Signorello, for spearheading innovative opportunities for fellows to develop skills and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, as the NIH community transitioned to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this group of emerging leaders swiftly and selflessly volunteered to serve in leadership roles on the FAB. They were quick to recognize the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their fellow colleagues and to ramp up activities to serve them. They developed strategic programming for building virtual community and advocating for the needs of the fellows, for advancing the fellows’ scientific and professional development, and for promoting their professional networking. In these efforts, they cumulatively hosted dozens of innovative events that aimed to offset and ease the pandemic’s effects on fellows. They served as exemplary role models as they motivated and empowered NCI trainees to achieve and connect during a time of great uncertainty. Their empathy, vision, and commitment to their colleagues was a true demonstration of their outstanding leadership abilities.

Derek Brown, Ph.D., M.S.

Five Cancer Prevention Fellows received the 2021 William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award from NIMHD

December 21, 2020

Cancer Prevention Fellows (CPFs), all working in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), are among the 2021 recipients of the prestigious William G. Coleman, Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award. Established in 2016 by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, this competitive award program has been designed to support innovative research concepts and ideas with the potential for high impact in any area of minority health and health disparities research. Recipients receive $15,000 to study key determinants of health inequities and advance scientific knowledge within the field for their 1-year projects. This year, two separate projects led by CFPs won an award:

Dr. Cody Ramin submitted her winning proposal entitled “Endogenous Hormones and Ultrasound Tomography Measures of Breast Density by Race in a Longitudinal Study of Women Undergoing Tamoxifen Therapy.” Dr. Ramin conducts her research in both the Radiation Epidemiology Branch (REB) and the Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch (ITEB). Dr. Ramin will examine the association between circulating endogenous hormones and changes in breast density prior to and after tamoxifen initiation among Black and White women. In addition to providing etiological insights on breast cancer, she believes that the results could inform targeted approaches for risk reduction and understanding of racial disparities in breast cancer survival.

Drs. Jacqueline Vo, Naoise Synnott, Ian Buller, and Derek Brown submitted their winning collaborative proposal entitled “HDoCS in PLCO: Health Disparities of Cancer Survivors in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.” Dr. Vo conducts her research in REB, Dr. Synnott in ITEB, Dr. Buller in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB), and Dr. Brown in ITEB. The team cites a lack of research on how lower individual- and population-level socioeconomic status and genetic ancestry affect cancer survivorship. The study aims to bridge this gap by exploring health disparities related to individual- and population-level socioeconomic factors (e.g., income, education, rurality) and genetic ancestry and their relationship with all-cause and cancer-specific mortality among cancer survivors. Once completed, they envision their research could benefit underserved cancer survivors and inform tailored interventions. 

Derek Brown, Ph.D., M.S.
Current Fellow, 2019 CPFP Cohort

Dr. Derek Brown Explores Biological Mechanisms Linking Somatic Loss of Y Chromosome to Cancer

April 6, 2020

Dr. Derek Brown, a current CPFP Fellow housed in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), recently published an editorial titled “Why Y? Downregulation of Chromosome Y Genes Potentially Contributes to Elevated Cancer Risk.” The piece was released January 16, 2020, in the JNCI:  Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In men, somatic loss of the Y chromosome, referred to as mosaic loss of Y (LOY), has been shown to be associated with both hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors. Although observational studies have suggested a connection between LOY and cancer, little is known about the biological mechanisms which link LOY to cancer. Within the article, Dr. Brown and his DCEG preceptor and NIH Earl Stadtman Investigator, Dr. Mitchell Machiela, discuss new findings which suggest down-regulation of chromosome Y gene expression as a possible mediator between LOY and cancer risk.

Post publication, Drs. Brown and Machiela continue to investigate possible biological mechanisms which could potentially connect mosaic LOY and elevated cancer risk.

Derek Brown, Ph.D.
Current Fellow, 2019 CPFP Cohort