Folkhälsan researcher to head WHO cancer research institute - Folkhälsan

01 June 2018

Folkhälsan researcher to head WHO cancer research institute

Professor Elisabete Weiderpass Vainio, head of a research group at the Folkhälsan research centre, has been appointed Director of the World Health Organization’s cancer research institute, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

“I am delighted with this new assignment as director of the institute. I look forward to being able to contribute my expertise to the important work that the IARC does.”

Weiderpass Vainio is originally from Brazil, but she has also taken Swedish and Finnish citizenship. At Folkhälsan, her group has carried out research into genetic epidemiology.

“I conduct research into obesity in children and adolescents - what causes it, and what are the consequences? I also work in cancer research with partners from over thirty different countries.”

Weiderpass Vainio takes up her post on January 1, 2019. The appointment will be for five years, with the possibility of an extension for a further five years.

“The institute has a long and distinguished history going back fifty years. It is vital that the IARC continues its important work on cancer research. Today there are a large number of other actors in this field, but the role of the IARC remains crucial.”

Elisabete Weiderpass Vainio is a professor of Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute, and a professor of Cancer Epidemiology at the Arctic University of Norway. She holds adjunct professorships in cancer epidemiology in Brazil, China and Iran, and is a visiting professor in Kuwait. She is an expert in cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention and currently heads the research department at the Cancer Registry of Norway and the genetic epidemiology group at Folkhälsan’s research centre in Finland.

“I studied at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and have worked as a doctor and a researcher. My husband is also a doctor and researcher, and currently works in Kuwait as dean at the new Faculty of Public Health there. I have a big family with four step daughters and (so far) six grandchildren.”

Sources: IARC, Karolinska Institute, Elisabete Weiderpass Vainio.