Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD

Tomi Akinyemiju
Vice-Chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Akinyemiju is a cancer epidemiologist with a research program focused on identifying the impact of social (such as access to healthcare) and biological factors (such as metabolic dysregulation), on cancer-related risk, tumor aggressiveness,s and survival. She has a specific interest in understanding the causes of cancer disparities among women of African descent in the US and sub-Saharan Africa, given their significantly higher risk of aggressive cancer subtypes and mortality relative to other racial groups. To achieve these research aims, she utilizes data from population-based cancer registries, administrative claims, and existing cohort studies, and has published over 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts to date. Dr. Akinyemiju also leads several primary epidemiologic research studies. She is the PI of a case-control study of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and healthy controls in Nigeria designed to elucidate the impact of metabolic dysregulation and epigenetic alterations on hormone-receptor negative breast cancer subtypes. In addition, Dr. Akinyemiju leads an R01 study that characterizes racial differences across multiple healthcare access dimensions among US ovarian cancer patients and evaluates the impact of differential healthcare on quality of initial and supportive treatment, and quality of life. A parallel line of research focuses on identifying lifestyle intervention strategies to improve metabolic health among breast cancer patients as a mortality prevention strategy. Dr. Akinyemiju is passionate about promoting inclusion and diversity in research, teaching and service, and serves as the Director for Inclusion and Diversity at the Duke University Department of Population Health Sciences.