Christopher I. Amos, PhD
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is honoring Christopher I. Amos, PhD, with the 2020 AACR–American Cancer Society (ACS) Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention.
Dr. Amos, the Selzman Endowed Professor, Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and Associate Director of Quantitative Science at Baylor College of Medicine, is being recognized for his unique blend of expertise in biostatistics and bioinformatics, genetics, and cancer epidemiology. He has leveraged these skills to expand upon emerging genomic technologies, making seminal contributions to the understanding of how genetic and environmental factors can cause complex diseases such as cancer.
The 2020 AACR-ACS Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention was established by the two organizations in 1992 to recognize outstanding research accomplishments in the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.
Dr. Amos has been instrumental in the development of novel and robust methods for the analysis of quantitative traits using variance components and strong linkage approaches for understanding the etiologic basis of complex diseases such as cancer. The methods he developed are now widely applied and highly regarded, in part because they do not require genetic models to be specified. Therefore, such models are more easily used in studying common diseases that result from the interplay of genetic and environmental factors.
A Pioneer in Genomics
Additionally, Dr. Amos is heralded as a nationally recognized leader in the field of whole-genome analyses. He was the first author of a landmark paper in Nature Genetics that identified a region of robust linkage disequilibrium within 15q25 as a lung cancer susceptibility gene locus.1 This region encompasses the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes CHRNA3 and CHRNA5, which have a defined role in nicotine dependence and a hypothesized direct role in downstream signaling pathways that promote carcinogenesis.
Dr. Amos has been a member of the AACR since 1988 and is a member of the AACR Molecular Epidemiology Working Group. A key member of the National Cancer Institute’s Genetic Associations and Mechanisms in Oncology initiative, he has been recognized with the Leadership Award from the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (2003) and the Margaret and James A. Elkins Jr Faculty Achievement Award from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (2000). He also held the Annie Laurie Howard Endowed Professor and the Ashbel Smith Professor endowed chairs at MD Anderson and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
1. Amos CI, Wu X, Broderick P, et al: Genome-wide association scan of tag SNPs identifies a susceptibility locus for lung cancer at 15q25.1. Nat Genet 40:616-622, 2008.