Jackilen Shannon, PhD
- Associate Professor in PHPM, SOM
- RJH 3522
The Shannon group has two primary areas of research, cancer prevention and community outreach. The focus of the cancer prevention group is on the use of epidemiologic and clinical research methods to investigate the role of bioactive food components in early carcinogenesis. The focus of this work has narrowed over the past 5 years from broad case-control studies with multiple dietary exposures to directed clinical trials and family-based association studies that target specific bioactive nutrients and their function in particular biologic pathways frequently dysregulated in early carcinogenesis. Breast and prostate cancer have been the model diseases within which our work has been conducted. Breast and prostate cancer are among the most common causes of cancer death in the United States and are thought to have a large environmental component. Further, incidence of both cancers is exceedingly high in developed countries and is quickly increasing in developing countries, allowing for the use of epidemiologic methods. Our recent work has targeted the function of two bioactive compounds, omega-3 fatty acids and sulforaphane, from broccoli sprouts. Our goal in this work is to elucidate the mechanism/s whereby these compounds may alter cancer risk and thereby develop interventions targeted to have the greatest impact on reducing cancer incidence.
The focus of the community outreach arm is through the development and maintenance of the Health Discoveries Program. The key component of the Health Discoveries Program is the “Let’s Get Healthy!” event. Let's Get Healthy! is a popular interactive education and research exhibit that allows community members to learn important information about their body while contributing to science. Attendees are invited to enroll as research participants where they learn about the research process and the quality of their own diet, sleep, body composition and other measures. They can contribute their anonymous health information to a population database that researchers can use to study the relationship between these health factors. Schools and communities also have access to the anonymous data, which can be used to encourage healthy living in their communities or teach scientific inquiry to their students using real data. All information collected is completely anonymous. Let’s Get Healthy! health fairs are open to the public and volunteers of all backgrounds are able to help with the exhibit. The program is made possible by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
To date, 20 exhibits have been held in 6 counties around Oregon and another 38 have been requested representing an additional 12 counties. A total of 7,150 individuals have participated in the exhibit, of which 2,155 were secondary school students from 13 participating schools. In addition to disseminating information to exhibit participants, Let’s Get Healthy! provides an opportunity for community and parent volunteers to be trained in and participate in the research process as exhibit volunteers. To date 296 individuals from around the state have registered, completed responsible conduct in research training and staffed research stations as Individual Investigators. This community volunteer investment promotes ownership of the exhibit and subsequent exhibit data.
Here are some links to my current studies:
Dr. Jackilen Shannon is a nutritional epidemiologist with a strong track record of investigation in the role of diet and nutrition in carcinogenesis. She joined Oregon Health and Science University in 2000. She completed a doctoral degree program in Nutrition with a minor in Epidemiology at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an NIH-NCI post-doctoral training fellowship in cancer epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.