Principal Investigator

Yin Cao, MPH, ScD
Associate Professor in Surgery
Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery

Associate Professor in Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Department of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine



ScD in Epidemiology, Harvard University (2013)
MPH in Epidemiology, Columbia University (2009)
BS in Economics, Peking University (2007)
BS in Biology, Tsinghua University (2007)

Research Interest

Dr. Cao is a cancer epidemiologist with extensive training and research experience in epidemiologic study design and molecular/nutritional/clinical epidemiology. Her early work focused on risk prediction, screening, and chemoprevention of gastrointestinal malignancies. Current projects in the Cao lab incorporate high-throughput technologies (genomics, proteomics, microbiome, accelerometers) into large-scale collaborative epidemiology/clinical studies to address provocative questions in cancer prevention, including but not limited to    1) the etiology and early detection of early-onset cancers 2) the biological basis for cancer disparity 3) the role of microbiome and host immunity in carcinogenesis

These work leverage data collected from deep-characterized population-based studies and genetic consortium, clinical cohorts from Washington University, and pharmacy and inpatient/outpatient claims. The lab collaborates extensively with leading investigators in clinical medicine (e.g. gastroenterology, oncology, pathology, surgery), computational biology, genetics, and decision modeling. Dr. Cao and her team have published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts in leading medical journals. More details at

Lab Members

Current Members

  • Xiaoyu Zong, MPH (Statistical data analyst)
  • Cassandra Fritz, MD (Gastroenterology fellow)
  • Yu Wang, PhD (Postdoc)
  • Ruiyi Tian, BS (MPH candidate in epidemiology)
  • Mengyao Shi, MBBS (MPH candidate in epidemiology)
  • Shuhan Shen, BS (MPH candidate in epidemiology)


  • Jinhee Hur, PhD (Assistant Professor at Sungkyunkwan University)
  • Ebunoluwa Otegbeye, MD (General surgery resident, WUSM)
  • Xiaoyan Wang, MD, PhD (The Analysis Group)
  • Serena Li, MPH (Research fellow in Pharmacoeconomics)
  • Yizhe Song, MS (DBBS PhD rotation student, WUSM)
  • Hanyu Chen, MD, PhD Candidate (Colorectal surgeon)
  • Jingwen Liao, PhD (Assistant Professor at Guangzhou Sport University)
  • Jie Liu, MD, MPH (DBBS PhD student, WUSM)
  • Zitong Li, MD (Thoracic surgeon)
  • Ai Zhang, MS (Bioinformatics Research Assistant, Internal Medicine – Immunology, WUSM)
  • Yong Zou, PhD (Immunologist)
  • Chao Cao, MPH (PhD student in movement science , WUSM)
  • Alexandra Kanemaru, MPH (Consultant, Sellers Dorsey)
  • Xiaobin Zheng, MD, PhD (Fellow in colorectal surgery)
  • Cong Wang, MPH (PhD student in epidemiology, VUMC)
  • Gaoyu Wu, MS (PhD student in mathematics, UCSD)
  • Xiao Li, MS (PhD student in epidemiology, SLU & Senior Statistical data analyst, Psychiatry, WUSM)