Professor | Senior Scientist | Group Leader+61 7 3362 0279
Professor David Whiteman is a medical epidemiologist with a special interest in the causes, control and prevention of cancer. He received his medical degree from the University of Queensland in 1991, and his PhD in cancer epidemiology in 1997. He was awarded a Nuffield Medical Research Fellowship to undertake post-doctoral training at the University of Oxford in cancer epidemiology. He returned to Brisbane in 2000, and now leads a large program of cancer research comprising national and international studies of melanoma and other cancers.
In addition to his research activities, he is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, a member of the Academy of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) and currently Chairs the Barrett’s Neoplasia Guidelines Committee for the Cancer Council Australia and the Breast Cancer Risk Factors Working Group for Cancer Australia. In 2006, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
March 2017-current: Senior Scientist, Cancer Control Group
July 2016-June 2021: Deputy Director, QIMR Berghofer
February 2010-March 2017: Group Leader, Cancer Control Group
January 2009-February 2010: Lab Head, Cancer Control Group
2010-2013: ARC Future Fellow (Senior Level)
2004-2009: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
2000-2003: NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow
1998-1999: Nuffield Medical Research Fellow, University Of Oxford, Oxford, UK
1997: Senior Registrar in Public Health Medicine, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia
Professor David Whiteman conducts research into cancers of the skin and gastrointestinal tract, and more recently in cancer control. To that end, he has pursued two parallel but complementary paths, focusing on discovering how environmental and genetic factors interact to cause cancer on the one hand, and then applying this knowledge to the prevention and control of disease on the other.
Professor Whiteman leads the QSkin Study, the world’s largest prospective study of skin cancer with almost 44,000 participants. This cohort is measuring absolute and relative risks for basal and squamous cell carcinomas (BCC and SCC) and melanoma associated with phenotypic, lifestyle, clinical, and environmental factors, from which to build novel, valid decision tools for doctors and patients. The cohort is also measuring the impacts of protective behaviours and estimating the burden (mortality, costs, etc.) of skin cancer in Australia. In 2013, he was awarded a $3.4 million NHMRC project grant to collect DNA samples from 19,000 QSkin participants and perform a genome-wide association study – one of the largest studies of its type ever conducted in Australia.
He also studies oesophageal cancer, and its premalignant precursor, Barrett’s oesophagus. These investigations continue through rewarding collaborations with national (PROBE-NET consortium) and international (BEACON consortium) investigators.
More recently, Professor Whiteman has taken a broader interest in cancer control, using the data generated from epidemiological studies to develop estimates of cancer burden with a view to informing health policy. This work was commissioned originally by Cancer Council Australia, and has now expanded into a new program of work.
Professor Whiteman’s research career has been largely devoted to the field of cancer control, particularly for cancers of the skin and recently, the oesophagus.
In addition to his research activities, Professor Whiteman is a member of the Academy of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), Chair of the Barrett’s Neoplasia Guidelines Committee for the Cancer Council Australia and Chair of the Breast Cancer Risk Factors Expert Reference Group for Cancer Australia. He serves on advisory committees for Cancer Council Australia and Cancer Council NSW. He previously chaired the Fellowships committee of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and served as a Member of Council of NHMRC, the NHMRC National Asbestos Research Working Group, NHMRC Privacy Working Group, NHMRC Strategic Research Development Committee and Cure Cancer Australia Foundation.
1998: Fellow, Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1997: Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
1991: Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (Hons), The University of Queensland
1988: Bachelor of Medical Science, The University of Queensland