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New Director of the Utah Population Database – Nicola Camp, PhD

Dear University of Utah Community,

I am pleased to announce that Nicola Camp, PhD, has accepted the position of director of the UtahPopulation Database (UPDB) Shared Resource. Prior to Dr. Camp’s appointment, Ken Smith, PhD, served as director from 2010–2020, after which Karen Curtin, PhD, served as interim director. I am extremely grateful for the service, dedication, and thoughtful planning Drs. Smith and Curtin have shown as leaders of this valuable resource. 

The UPDB is a powerful research resource that links data from medical records, genealogy records, and demographic data for 11 million individuals. It is the largest database of its kind in the world. This information helps researchers identify genetic patterns of disease, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and mental health conditions, in families. This information is used to inform research in precision prevention and personalized treatments, and to provide critical insights about population health. Through UPDB, Utah researchers have contributed to the development of targeted therapies and become leaders in genetic counseling to reduce disease risk.

Dr. Camp, a professor of internal medicine, joined the University of Utah in 1998 and was specifically attracted to Utah for the ability to study large families in the UPDB. Camp was trained in the United Kingdom and has a BSc in mathematics and statistics and a PhD in statistical genetics. Her research group develops novel genetic and genomic methods and undertakes applied genetic epidemiology studies. With a focus on breast cancer and hematological malignancies, her studies include mapping inherited genetic risk using large high-risk families and case-control designs, and tumor characterization to discover factors involved in risk, prognosis, and treatment response. Her methods development work supports collaborations with colleagues in many disease domains and fields. In acknowledgement of her novel methods for gene mapping in large families, she was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama in 2011. Camp is internationally recognized in her field and has been elected to chair two large consortia, the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium and the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium. She has also served on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Counsellors for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology. Camp has authored more than 180 peer-reviewed articles. Her research has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, International Myeloma Foundation, and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

The UPDB is truly a unique and immensely powerful research resource in the United States. With Dr. Camp’s appointment to lead the highly effective UPDB team, we are looking forward to many new discoveries in the era of data science.

Dr. Camp will assume her new role November 15, 2021. Please join me in congratulating Nicki and in thanking Drs. Smith and Curtin for their dedicated and exceptional service.

The UPDB is jointly supported by Huntsman Cancer Institute and U of U Health of the University of Utah.

Cornelia Ulrich, MS, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer and Exec. Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center, HCI
Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research
Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Utah


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Last Updated: 11/23/21