David J. Hunter
Emeritus Faculty

David J. Hunter

Vincent L. Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention, Emeritus



Other Positions

Professor of Medicine, Emeritus


Harvard Medical School


David Hunter's principal research interests are the etiology of cancer, particularly breast, ovarian, prostate and skin cancer. He was an investigator on the Nurses' Health Study, a long-running cohort of 121,000 US women, and was project director for the Nurses' Health Study II, a newer cohort of 116,000 women. He analyzes inherited susceptibility to cancer and other chronic diseases using genetic techniques and studying molecular markers of environmental exposures. Dr. Hunter supervised laboratories at the Harvard School of Public Health in which gene sequence information from these samples is obtained. He was Co-Chair of the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium and co-director of the NCI Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) Special Initiative. He collaborated with investigators at the School and in Tanzania to understand the relationship of nutritional status to progression of HIV disease and perinatal transmission. Professor Hunter was the Director of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention from 1997-2003, and was Founding Director of the Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology (now Program in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics), Harvard School of Public Health. Hunter was Acting Dean of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in 2015-2016 and before that Dean for Academic Affairs at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 2009-2015.

In 2017, Hunter moved to the University of Oxford as the Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, and as a Governing Board Fellow of Green Templeton College. He directs a Unit focused on translating disease risk information into population health and clinical practice. He is Chief Science Advisor to Our Future Health, a major cohort initiative of the UK Government. In 2021 he was elected as a Fellow by distinction of the UK Faculty of Public Health, and elected as a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.