Professor David Hunter AC

Advance Awards Life Sciences Category Finalist

Professor David Hunter is one of the leading cancer epidemiologists in the world. His work at Harvard University uncovered genetic associations and gene-environment associations for breast and prostate cancers, and he has initiated and been a lead investigator in a series of large scale research studies to determine the links between genetics and cancers, in the USA, and now the UK. David is one of the leading researchers in epidemiology more broadly, with contributions that have benefited the relationships of alcohol and heart disease, nutrition, vitamin intake, HIV in Africa, age at menarche and menopause, and HIV and perinatal transmission. As author of both scholarly publications and contributions to public understanding in main-stream print, David has put his epidemiology to work as active as an advisor and commentator. most recently on actions required to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

David Hunter studied medicine at the University of Sydney and trained at the Royal North Shore Hospital, before moving to Harvard University for 33 years where he was the Vincent L. Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention and Dean for Academic Affairs. As Director of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, he developed a sample handling and genotyping laboratory to explore genetic associations with cancer and gene-environment interactions. He founded the Program in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics at Harvard. He was co-chair of the steering committee of the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium, was co-director of the NCI Cancer Genetic Susceptibility Markers project, and was an Eminent Scholar at the US NCI between 2004 and 2009. David has instructed in genetics and epidemiology at Harvard and other locations for over three decades. He has published over 700 research papers, is one of about 3000 “highly cited researchers” worldwide according to Thomson-Reuters and is one of the top 100 most highly cited medical researchers according to Webometrics. Today, David is the Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, director of the Harvard-Oxford Program in Epidemiology, and Chief Science Advisor to the UK Early Detection of Disease Research Platform. In 2023 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to medicine as an epidemiologist, particularly in relation to disease prevention and early detection, and to the aetiology of breast, colorectal,
prostate and skin cancers.