Professor Joanne Kotsopoulos named Canada Research Chair in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention

November 20/2017

Earlier this month, Professor Joanne Kotsopoulos received a Canada Research Chair in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention. She is one of 20 U of T scientists to receive a Canada Research Chair (CRC), equaling $19.3 million in research investment at the University.

Professor Joanne Kotsopoulos

Professor Joanne Kotsopoulos

Professor Kotsopoulos is an internationally recognized expert on the causes of BRCA-associated cancers and leads epidemiologic studies on factors that predict breast and ovarian cancer risk and outcome, with a focus on high-risk populations.

“Many BRCA mutation carriers elect to have intensive screening instead of preventive surgery to manage their breast cancer risk and evidence-based non-surgical options are needed.  This chair will enable research to identify risk factors, offer women more options and ultimately improve outcomes,” said Kotsopoulos, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at DLSPH.

They also face high lifetime risks of developing ovarian cancer, a highly fatal disease.

This CRC will allow her and her research team to better identify women at the highest risk of developing cancer and may act as potential targets for novel preventive drug therapies or as markers for early detection.

Kotsopoulos works with more than 64 institutions worldwide as part of an ongoing international, collaborative study of over 15,000 BRCA mutation carriers from 20 different countries. With this data she can generate insights on the role of hormonal, reproductive and lifestyle factors on BRCA breast and ovarian cancer risk. She has published more than 70 studies that have provided women and health-care providers around the world with evidence-based treatment options while contributing to the understanding of hereditary cancer development.

“My ultimate aim is to deliver evidence-based, personalized strategies to improve women’s health and lower cancer incidence and mortality rates around the world,” said Kotsopoulos, who is also a scientist at Women’s College Hospital.

In addition to her research, Kotsopoulos teaches and mentors students at various stages of their career and developed a Nutrition and Cancer graduate level course at the University of Toronto.