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Emory Rollins School of Public Health
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Roberd  Bostick


Emeritus Professor

Professor Emeritus, Epidemiology

Training and Experience:  Originally trained as a family physician, I practiced medicine full time for nine years before training in epidemiology.  After this, I began my career as an academic cancer epidemiologist; during my first 12 years in this role I continued a 20% effort in clinical care.  I was recruited to Emory as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar in 2003, and since then I have been solely devoted to epidemiology and cancer research, teaching, and administration.

Research:  The organizing hypothesis undergirding most of my body of research is that colorectal cancer is an evolutionary discordance disease; i.e., a disease initiated and/or promoted due to mismatches between our modern diets and lifestyles and our bodies that were evolutionarily most adapted to other diets and lifestyles.  My investigations, both observational and interventional, in these regards have involved assessing various nutrients for which modern intakes/exposures are low or high, exposure pathways, and larger dietary/lifestyle patterns.  Intertwined with much of this work has been the development of treatable biomarkers of risk for colorectal cancer to illuminate the relevant mechanisms of the exposures on colon carcinogenesis in humans.  Particular foci within my past and current work in these somewhat overlapping areas include:  calcium, vitamin D, oxidative balance, inflammation, and diet and lifestyle pattern scores and risk for colorectal neoplasms; and the development, validation, and application of treatable normal colon tissue and circulating biomarkers of risk for colorectal neoplasms.

Teaching:  I have taught classes in introductory epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, epidemiologic writing and presenting, epidemiologic grant writing, and advanced designing and implementing epidemiologic studies.  I have also mentored numerous masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral level trainees, and served as the Department of Epidemiology’s Director of Graduate Studies for our Masters Programs, the Department of Epidemiology Applied Practical Experience (APE) advisor, and the RSPH Executive MPH (EMPH) Program Epidemiology Thesis Advisor.

Service:  I served as program leader for cancer prevention and control in the cancer centers of two universities before being recruited to Emory where I led the establishment of our cancer center’s prevention and control program and served as its leader for eight years until 2015.  For many years I served as a senior editor for the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, and at intervals throughiout my academic career served on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Preventive Oncology.

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Contact Information

Dept. of Epidemiology, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE

Atlanta , GA 30322

1518-002-3BB (SPH: Epidemiology)

Phone: 404-727-2671

Fax: 404-727-8737


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Areas of Interest

  • Biomarkers
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Imaging
  • Nutrition
  • Risk Assessment


  • BS 1973, Wofford College
  • MD 1976, The Medical University of South Carolina
  • MPH 1990, University of Minnesota

Courses Taught

  • EPI 595: Applied Practice Experience

Affiliations & Activities

Professor (Joint) of Hematology & Medical Oncology

Lead, Cancer Epidemiology Faculty

Graduate Faculty, School of Medicine/Laney Graduate School, Medical Scientist Training Program (“MD-PhD program”)


  • , , Associations of novel whole food and lifestyle-based inflammation scores with incident colorectal cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, JNCI Cancer Spectrum, 4, doi: 10.1093/jncics/pkaa009
  • , , Inflammation modulation by vitamin D and calcium in morphologically normal colorectal mucosa of colorectal adenoma patients in a clinical trial, Cancer Prev Res, ,
  • , , Development and validation of novel dietary and lifestyle inflammation scores, J Nutr , 149, 2206-2218
  • , , Associations of evolutionary concordant diet and lifestyles and Mediterranean diets with colorectal cancer risk among older women: The Iowa Women's Health Study, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 27, 1195-1202
  • , , Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on normal colon tissue and circulating biomarkers of risk for colorectal neoplasms, J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 148, 86-95