Molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE) is a transdisciplinary and relatively new scientific discipline that integrates theory, methods, and resources from epidemiology, pathology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. The underlying objective of MPE research is to better understand the etiology and progression of complex and heterogeneous human diseases with the goal of informing prevention and treatment efforts in population health and clinical medicine. Although MPE research has been commonly applied to investigating breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, its methodology can be used to study most diseases. Recent successes in MPE studies include: (1) the development of new statistical methods to address etiologic heterogeneity; (2) the enhancement of causal inference; (3) the identification of previously unknown exposure-subtype disease associations; and (4) better understanding of the role of lifestyle/behavioral factors on modifying prognosis according to disease subtype. Central challenges to MPE include the relative lack of transdisciplinary experts, educational programs, and forums to discuss issues related to the advancement of the field. To address these challenges, highlight recent successes in the field, and identify new opportunities, a series of MPE meetings have been held at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. Herein, we share the proceedings of the Third International MPE Meeting, held in May 2016 and attended by 150 scientists from 17 countries. Special topics included integration of MPE with immunology and health disparity research. This meeting series will continue to provide an impetus to foster further transdisciplinary integration of divergent scientific fields.
Keywords: Meeting report; Molecular pathological epidemiology; Proceedings.