Dr. Peters’ research focuses on the genetic, molecular and nutritional epidemiology of colorectal cancer. Since 2009, she is leading the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, known as GECCO. Within this consortium, she has conducted genome-wide association scans for over 75,000 participants and has undertaken one of the first large-scale whole-genome sequencing studies for colorectal cancer, sequencing the whole genomes of 2,000 patients with colorectal cancer and 1,000 healthy control participants.
Utilizing the rich GECCO data, she and her colleagues build risk models to guide personalize screening decisions based on the individual’s genetic and lifestyle risk profile.
To understand the interplay between genes and environment on the risk of colorectal cancer she is conducting a genome-wide investigation of interactions between genetic risk factors and many lifestyle and environmental risk factors.
Dr. Peters is also leading a project in GECCO to integrate genetic information about both the patient and his or her tumor to study possible associations between environmental risk factors and inherited genetic risk factors for different colorectal cancer subtypes.
Additionally, she leads or co-leads several other collaborative studies, including the Population Architecture Using Genetics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study and the Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT) Study, which is a part of the Genetic Associations and Mechanisms in Oncology (GAME-ON).
Working with several of these large, international collaborations, Dr. Peters and her colleagues identified 25 new locations in the human genome where people could have genetic variations that put them at increased risk for colorectal cancer. The findings could help improve the assessment of individuals’ risk and point researchers to clues about the underlying biology of this disease, which is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S.