- 2016: Coordinator, Population Health Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia
- 2013: Honorary Professor, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Australia
- 2011: Principal Research Fellow & Head, Gynaecological Cancers Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia
- 2003 – 2011: Senior Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia
- 2000 – 2003: Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia
- 1998 – 2000: Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia
- 1995 – 1998: Lecturer in Epidemiology, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia
- 1994 – 1995: Epidemiologist (Monographs Programme), International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
Current Area of Research
Professor Penelope Webb‘s research interests cover all aspects of the epidemiology of ovarian and endometrial cancer from aetiology and prevention, to diagnosis, patterns of care, quality of life and survival. A particular focus is on the role of environmental (non-genetic) factors in the causation of cancer and also the development of sequelae and survival after a diagnosis of cancer. Much of this work is conducted within two national population-based studies, the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS, 2002-6) and Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS, 2007-9), and within two international consortia, the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) and Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). A 24-month follow-up for the Ovarian Cancer Prognosis and Lifestyle (OPAL) Study was recently completed in which we are investigating whether modifiable aspects of lifestyle are associated with outcomes following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. As well as this, approval has been obtained for a new project using data-linkage to assess the relation between medication use and cancer risk and outcomes.
- As a founding member of the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS), Penelope was responsible for all aspects of recruitment and data collection for this national study which is now unmatched anywhere in the world and has enabled >100 publications – many ground breaking in their field.
- From AOCS we showed that, contrary to belief, efforts to diagnose ovarian cancer more quickly are unlikely to reduce mortality and, thus, that effort invested in programs attempting to diagnose ovarian cancer more rapidly are futile because once cancers cause symptoms their clinical course is set (Nagle et al., JCO 2011)
- Evidence that fallopian tube and serous ovarian cancers share a common aetiology but the histologically similar primary peritoneal tumours may arise via different mechanisms (Jordan et al. Int J Cancer, 2008)
- Leading international pooled analyses of self-reported and genetic data that both confirmed obesity as a risk factor for some types of ovarian cancer but not the most common and most aggressive high grade serous cancers (Olsen et al., Endocr Rel Cancer 2013; Dixon et al., IJE 2016)
- Showing that vitamin D status is associated with survival following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer (Webb et al.,Am J Clin Nutr, 2015)
- Completing the first national ‘Patterns of Care’ study for ovarian cancer; this highlighted some gaps in care and has been used to inform treatment guidelines (Jordan et al., Gynecol 2013)
- As a founding member of the Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS) I was responsible for all aspects of recruitment and data collection for this national study which, like AOCS, has enabled many publications including several identifying new genetic risk factors for endometrial cancer (Spurdle et al., Nature Gen 2011)
- Clarification of the benefits of weight loss to reduce risk of endometrial cancer (Nagle et al. Eur J Cancer, 2013)
- Observation that aspirin use may be associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer, especially among obese women who are otherwise at the highest risk (Neill et al., Int J Cancer, 2012)
- 2014 – 2017: International Agency on Research in Cancer – Fellowships Committee
- 2011: Oxford Collaborative Group on Hormonal Cancers, UK (Steering Group 2013-)
- 2008: Australia and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group
- 2008: OCAC Epidemiology Working Group (Chair 2017-2019)
- 2006: Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (Steering Committee 2017)
- 2006: Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium
- 2002: International Epidemiology Association
- 1996: Society for Epidemiological Research, USA
- 1996: Australasian Epidemiological Association
- 2013: Named as one of Qweekend’s Best and Brightest.
- 2011: Webb & Bain. Essential Epidemiology 2nd Edition. ‘Highly Commended’ at British Medical Association Medical Book Competition: Public Health Category.
- 1995: DPhil (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Oxford, UK
- 1986: BA Hons Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK