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Elisa Bandera
Elisa Bandera, an internationally recognized expert in nutrition and cancer epidemiology, was named the Unilever Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The Rutgers University Board of Governors voted to approve Elisa Bandera, an internationally recognized expert in nutrition and cancer epidemiology, as the Unilever Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Bandera – who has been with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey for over 20 years – conducts research on the impact of obesity and body composition on breast and ovarian cancer risk, treatment and survival outcomes and survivorship, with an emphasis on cancer health disparities.

“I have dedicated my career to study how nutritional factors, including diet and obesity and related factors, impact the cancer risk, as well as helping top agencies to develop nutrition and physical activity public health recommendations for cancer prevention and control,” says Bandera, who is chief of cancer epidemiology and health outcomes, coleader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, and interim director of the Population Science Research Support Shared Resource at the cancer institute.

Bandera, who is also a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School and a professor of epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health, has led several studies among diverse and underserved minority populations and played a major role in the development of nutritional guidelines for cancer prevention and survival at a national and global scale. Her research has also been strongly and consistently supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute.

Her work and expertise extends beyond the university. Bandera has served in numerous advisory boards and expert panels for several organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund International.

For more than a decade, Bandera has also served as a member of the International Expert Panel for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Continuous Update Project and the WCRF/AICR Third Expert Report on Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, released in May 2018 which provided the most comprehensive review of the epidemiologic literature relating dietary factors and cancer published to date. She was recently appointed by WCRF/AICR as chair of the expert committee on cancer incidence and member of the expert panel to continue this work.

She has also been involved in the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention and Survival Advisory Committees since 2006 and has served as chair of the Lifestyle Behaviors, Energy Balance and Chemoprevention Special Interest Group of the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 

The Unilever Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey was established by a gift from the Thomas J. Lipton Company to support a scholar with a distinguished record in nutritional research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bandera will hold the post for a five-year term, which began on November 1, 2021.

“I am truly honored to be recognized for my accomplishments, and am eager to continue my research and public health/outreach efforts in these areas, as well as the mentoring of the next generation of researchers.”