An important premise of epidemiology is that individuals with the same disease share similar underlying etiologies and clinical outcomes. In the past few decades, our knowledge of disease pathogenesis has improved, and disease classification systems have evolved to the point where no complex disease processes are considered homogenous. As a result, pathology and epidemiology have been integrated into the single, unified field of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE). Advancing integrative molecular and population-level health sciences and addressing the unique research challenges specific to the field of MPE necessitates assembling experts in diverse fields, including epidemiology, pathology, biostatistics, computational biology, bioinformatics, genomics, immunology, and nutritional and environmental sciences. Integrating these seemingly divergent fields can lead to a greater understanding of pathogenic processes. The International MPE Meeting Series fosters discussion that addresses the specific research questions and challenges in this emerging field. The purpose of the meeting series is to: discuss novel methods to integrate pathology and epidemiology; discuss studies that provide pathogenic insights into population impact; and educate next-generation scientists. Herein, we share the proceedings of the Fourth International MPE Meeting, held in Boston, MA, USA, on 30 May-1 June, 2018. Major themes of this meeting included 'integrated genetic and molecular pathologic epidemiology', 'immunology-MPE', and 'novel disease phenotyping'. The key priority areas for future research identified by meeting attendees included integration of tumor immunology and cancer disparities into epidemiologic studies, further collaboration between computational and population-level scientists to gain new insight on exposure-disease associations, and future pooling projects of studies with comparable data.
Keywords: Meeting proceedings; Meeting report; Meeting summary; Molecular pathological epidemiology; Patho-epidemiology.