Dr Tabung is an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University (OSU) and a member of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he leads the Diet and Cancer Translational Research Lab focused on elucidating biological mechanisms through which dietary patterns influence cancer risk and treatment response. His group is particularly interested in mechanisms involving inflammation and insulin response and he has designed novel dietary indices to assess the potential of the diet to contribute to chronic systemic inflammation and to sustained insulin hypersecretion – conditions that may mediate the pathogenesis of major chronic diseases including cancer. Dr Tabung is the principal investigator of projects funded by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society with major objective being the integrated examination of dietary patterns, biomarkers, and metabolomics data in relation to risk of developing colorectal cancer in diverse populations across the world. The major goals of his research program are to identify novel biomarkers for cancer prevention and control, and translate novel dietary patterns identified in large population-based studies, into the clinical setting for patient counselling. Dr Tabung earned his PhD at the University of South Carolina and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University before joining the faculty at Ohio State.
The dietary pattern approach to research on the role of diet in health and disease, is an improvement over the reductionist approach of single nutrients or single foods. It accounts for the context in which foods and nutrients are consumed and the complex interactions between foods and nutrients in the diet. Diet affects health and disease via multiple mechanisms, including chronic systemic inflammation, and diet-related inflammation is an area of intense research interest. In this talk, I will describe current methods for assessing dietary inflammatory potential in epidemiological studies, and summarize the evidence linking dietary patterns and chronic systemic inflammation. I will then discuss the role of the inflammatory dietary pattern in colorectal cancer risk and survival with a focus on the tumor immune microenvironment.