Researcher

Associate Professor Claire Melissa Vajdic

My Expertise

Population-based family study of follicular lymphoma, causes of cancer and factors that influence outcomes after cancer diagnosis.

Field of Research (FoR)

SEO tags

Biography

Brief biography: Associate Professor Claire Vajdic, BOptom (Hons I) PhD, is Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Unit at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health. Her research program aims to better understand the causes of cancer and factors that influence patient outcomes after cancer diagnosis.

The program employs classical and innovative cancer epidemiology and integrates biostatistics, biological sciences, clinical medicine,...view more

Brief biography: Associate Professor Claire Vajdic, BOptom (Hons I) PhD, is Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Unit at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health. Her research program aims to better understand the causes of cancer and factors that influence patient outcomes after cancer diagnosis.

The program employs classical and innovative cancer epidemiology and integrates biostatistics, biological sciences, clinical medicine, pharmacoepidemiology, psychology, economic and health services research. Current cancers of interest include lymphoid malignancies, cancer of unknown primary site, glioma and skin cancers. Study designs include case-control studies and large scale cohort studies incorporating record linkage with routinely collected health data.

International collaborations include the InterLymph Consortium and related large-scale genetic epidemiology studies that aim to unravel the lifestyle and genetic risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes.

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Associate Editor, Cancer Epidemiology
  • Editorial Board, Leukaemia and Lymphoma
  • Member, International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph)
  • Member, AIHW Cancer Monitoring Advisory Group
  • Member, AIHW Data Integration Advisory Committee
  • Member, American Association for Cancer Research
  • Member, Australasian Epidemiological Association
  • Member, International Transplantation Society
  • Member, Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • 2010 Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow

Funding Sources

  • National Health & Medical Research Council
  • Cancer Australia
  • Cancer Council NSW
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Cancer Institute NSW

 


My Research Activities

I have built a research program involving the integration of health ‘big data’ to inform precision cancer prevention. Through a number of concurrent projects across two research themes my research aims to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals and on the Australian health care system.

The first theme is large-scale, population-based genetic epidemiology. Using next generation genetic sequencing and novel epidemiological and biostatistical approaches we are generating robust evidence on the environmental, behavioural and genetic risk factors for lymphomas, brain cancer and skin cancer. This evidence will inform the pathogenesis of these high-burden malignancies and identify targets for intervention.

The second theme is cancer risk and health services research using integrated administrative and bespoke health data collections. We will generate contemporary Australian estimates of the population-level relevance of lifestyle risk factors for the most common cancers. We will identify gaps in the diagnosis and treatment of people with cancer of unknown primary site, a malignancy with a strikingly poor prognosis. We also study high-risk patient subgroups, such as people with an intellectual disability, to determine gaps in their health care and factors contributing to poor patient outcomes. We will use our findings to develop risk-stratified clinical guidelines for primary care and oncology and patient education materials, and inform public health policy.

All projects are co-produced in partnership with clinicians, consumers, and implementation scientists to advance the control of cancer, reduce the consequences of cancer, and address inequalities and inefficiencies in cancer care.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Cancer epidemiology

Cancer prevention

Genetic epidemiology

Health data linkage


Currently supervising

Maria Arriaga (Australian Postgraduate Award). Thesis title “Relative importance of lifestyle-related risk factors for rarer cancers in Australia”. Full-time, 2014+

Ritu Kunwar (Australian Postgraduate Award). Thesis title “Effect of parental migration on healthcare seeking behavior for common childhood illnesses and nutritional status of left behind children under 5 years of age in Nepal”. Full-time, July 2016+


My Engagement

Consulting projects for not-for-profit health organisations and government

Committee member, Commonwealth Agency

Associate Editor, Cancer Epidemiology

Editorial Board, Leukaemia and Lymphoma

Register4 Access Committee member

View less

Location

Centre for Big Data Research in Health, Level 1 AGSM Building (G27), University of New South Wales, Randwick NSW 2052

Contact

+61 2 9385 1424
+61 2 9385 3880

Research Activities

Annually more than 900 Australians are diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. The proposed research aims to identify the environmental and genetic causes of this blood cancer. People diagnosed with lymphoma, and an unaffected family member, will be enrolled in a 5-year study in NSW and Victoria. Participants will be asked to provide family history information, a saliva sample, and in some cases a blood sample. Exposure to specific chemicals, types of work, sunlight and body size are some of the factors the study will examine.

For more details please see

Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is a diagnosis used to describe patients with metastatic cancer with no identifiable primary site of origin at the time of presentation. CUP is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in NSW, but little is known about its risk factors or management. We will examine the patterns of health care utilisation prior to and after a CUP diagnosis in a cohort of Department of Veterans’ Affairs clients residing in NSW and in the 45 and Up Study cohort using linked cancer registry, hospital admission, emergency department, mortality and pharmaceutical and medical…