Derrick Lee


Derrick Lee

Campus Location
Annex 22C/Nasso Family Science Centre 1028

Degree: PhD


  • Biology (Cross-appointment)
  • Community Health & Epidemiology (Adjunct, Dalhousie University)
  • Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute
  • Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow's Health
  • Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer Research Centre

Research Interests: 
A cancer epidemiologist and statistician, my primary research focus on identifying environmental and genetic risk factors for cancer and in the interactions between genetic susceptibilities and environmental exposures, particularly in breast cancer and colorectal cancer. I am also interested in epidemiological and biostatistical methodologies, occupational exposure assessment methods, and bioinformatics and statistical learning, particularly in statistical genetics.

Areas of Research:

  • Biostatistical and epidemiologic methods
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Genetic susceptibility and cancer
  • Bioinformatics
  • Occupational exposure assessment
  • Statistical Learning

Current Research Projects:
Two active research programs that are part of the GENIC (GENe-Interactions in Cancer) lab focus on breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The first program involves a multi-centre study in BC and Ontario that looks at the genetic and environmental risk factors associated with the etiology of breast cancer; there are two active projects: pre-pregnancy smoking exposure and latent breast cancer risk and the impact of epstasis (gene-gene interactions) on breast cancer risk. The second program is a newly funded through CIHR and Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, and is a multi-centre study in BC and Atlantic Canada that focuses on risk factors associated with colorectal cancer. As this program is just starting, there are several potential projects, including environmental risk factors (e.g. sleep, gastrointestinal disorders, and occupational exposure) and gene-interactions (e.g. gene-environment and gene-gene interactions). Current undergraduate team members include:

  • Samantha Bardwell (Research Assistant, Math & Stats)
  • Kennedy Nangle (Honours Student, Biology)
  • Alison Walsh (Research Assistant, Health)

Former Honours Students:

  • Grace Tompkins: Pre-pregnancy exposure to occupational polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and its effects on latent breast cancer development. Class of 2019. First position: MSc student, University of Waterloo.
  • Jacob Burke: The effect of pre-pregnancy smoking on latent breast cancer risk. Class of 2019. First position: MSSP Student, Boston University.

Hayden A, Lee DG, Villa D, Gerrie A, Scott DW, Slack GW, Sehn LH, Connors JM, Savage KJ. Validation of a Simplified International Prognostic Score (IPS-3) in Patients with Advanced Stage Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma. British Journal of Haematology (2020) 189(1):122-127.

Hapgood G, Ben-Neriah S, Mottok A, Lee DG, Kridel R, Sehn LH, Villa D, Conners JM, Gascoyne RD, Feldman A, Scott DW, Farinha P, Steidl C, Slack G, Savage KJ. Genetic and clinical heterogeneity in ALK-negative ALCL. British Journal of Haematology. (BJH-2018-02201.R2) Accepted for publication: January 25, 2019.

Lee DG, Burstyn I, Lai AS, Grundy A, Friesen MC, Lavoué J, Aronson KJ, Spinelli JJ. Women’s occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and risk of breast cancer. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. (2019) 76(1):22-29

Schuetz JM, Grundy A, Shi J, Richardson H, Lee DG, Kobayashi LC, Lai AS, Burstyn I, Aronson KJ, Spinelli JJ, Brooks-Wilson AR. Genetic variants in genes related to inflammation, apoptosis and autophagy in breast cancer risk. PloS one. (2019) 14(1):e0209010

Boyle T, FritschiL, Kobayashi LC, Heyworth JS, Lee DG, Si S, Aronson KJ,Spinelli JJ. Sedentary work and the risk of breast cancer in pre-and post-menopausal women: A pooled analysis of two case-control studies. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. (2016) 73(11):735-41.

Chahal D, Lee DG, Toyota B. Survival and tumor recurrence in patients with brain metastases treated by surgical resection with or without adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy. Journal of Radiation Oncology. (2016) 5(2):213-19.

Lee DG, Lavoué J, Spinelli JJ, Burstyn I. Statistical modeling of occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using OSHA data. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. (2015) 12(10):729-42.

More information can be found on my Google Scholar profile here.