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Dr. Karen L. Edwards is Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology. She is also a Professor in the Public Health Program where she served as the Interim Chair from 2016 – 2017. She also leads the Cancer Control and Prevention Program for the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine. Dr. Edwards is a genetic epidemiologist and is interested in understanding the role that genetic and environmental factors, particularly diet, play in diseases. She also works to translate and apply these findings to improve population health. To improve population health and ensure that all segments of the population benefit, she considers the ethical, legal and social implications of translating genomic discoveries for public health and clinical practice. She has over 120 publications and has worked on a variety of conditions, including diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease and Balkan Endemic Nephropathy.

She received her M.S. in Nutrition from Cal State University, Chico and earned her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.

For more information on Dr. Karen L. Edwards, her research interests and recent publications please visit her full-length faculty bio 


Academic Courses

  • Genetic Epidemiology (EPID202)
  • Advanced Epidemiology Methods (EPID217)

Current Research Projects

  • Genetic Epidemiology of the Metabolic Syndrome  - A multi-ethnic family study of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Pacific Udall Center - A Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research
  • Participant Issues Project - A mixed methods study to understand the issues and expectations of research participants with an emphasis on genetic studies of cancer