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Myles Gordon Cockburn, PhD



Myles Cockburn, PhD, is a cancer epidemiologist whose research focuses on the prevention of skin cancer by changing the behaviors of school children in high risk communities, and on designing methods to improve prevention and early detection of skin cancer and other screenable cancers. The “SunSmart” program, a health education intervention widely tested and applied in Los Angeles and elsewhere, teaches kids and their families the dangers of too much exposure to the sun. This program also engages undergraduate students, graduates and junior faculty in delivering cancer prevention interventions in the community.

In addition to working on skin cancer prevention, Dr. Cockburn analyzes cancer registry data in to identify communities where cancer screening and treatment options may not be sufficient, particularly to identify and fill gaps in cancer prevention and clinical care. Dr. Cockburn holds the CancerCure/AMC Cancer Fund Chair for Prevention and Control.

Download Dr. Cockburn's CV
Research Interests:
  • Cancer prevention interventions
  • Skin cancer
  • Cancer surveillance methods and applications
  • GIS and spatial science applications in cancer control
Current Research Projects:
  • “SunSmart” intervention in schools (NCI): After 6 years of providing voluntary skin cancer intervention programs in local Los Angeles schools, this NCI-funded project aims to test novel methods of improving sun exposure behaviors in children and their families.
  • Novel methods for improving spatial uncertainty in cancer control (NCI): Using pesticide exposure and childhood leukemia as an example, we have developed and are testing novel methods of improving exposure assessment models by focusing on measuring, characterizing, and accounting for the uncertainty that is introduced in the geocoding process.
  • Pesticide exposure and chronic disease outcomes (NCI, Foundation support): Using a GIS model we originally developed to evaluate the role of exposure to chemicals commonly found in agricultural applications in Parkinson’s Disease, and in collaboration with investigators at UCLA, we are investigating associations between a variety of pesticides and childhood cancers, hormone-related cancers, and in autism.
  • Cancer control in population-based settings (NCI/SEER): Population-based cancer incidence and mortality data are leveraged to better understand the successes and failures of cancer control intervention at the population level. Work includes basic descriptive epidemiology, through to the development of innovative spatial models for describing communities worst hit by the cancer burden, which could simultaneously benefit from proven cancer prevention interventions.
  • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, B.A. 1991
  • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, PGDipArt with distinction, 1992
  • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, Ph.D. in Epidemiology, 1998
  • Health Research Council of New Zealand Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1996-1998

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