PSU Profiles
Last Name

Robin Taylor Wilson

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionCollege of Medicine
DepartmentPublic Health Sciences
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    Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology
    Director, Doctor of Public Health Program (DrPH)


    Principal Investigator, Genetic, Dietary and Environmental Influences on Vitamin D Metabolism, American Institute for Cancer Research

    Principal Investigator, Early Preparation and Inspiration for Careers in the Biomedical Sciences (EPIC), National Institutes of Health


    Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, 2000
    M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1995
    B.S., Drake University, Des Moines, 1991

    Pre-Doctoral Fellow, National Epidemiology Program, Indian Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1997-2000

    Post-Doctoral Fellow, Surveillance Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 2000-2002

    Post-Doctoral Fellow, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 2002-2004


    Penn State Cancer Institute, Population Health and Cancer Control Program
    Faculty Affiliate, Penn State University Population Research Institute


    Chair, Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association, 2013-15

    Review Editor, Frontiers in Applied Genetic Epidemiology

    Secretary, International Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology

    Member, Healthy & Wise Central PA Task Force


    Dr. Wilson is a former pre-doctoral fellow with the Indian Health Service’s National Epidemiology Program, and post-doctoral fellow with the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Research Program and the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch within the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

    Through research funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR, our laboratory is working to identify polymorphic variants related to racial/ethnic differences in circulating vitamin D concentrations. Vitamin D has both nongenomic and genomic effects. Most of the known biologic functions are carried out through highly-specific binding of calcitriol (1,25(OH)2D3) to the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Other genes in the vitamin D pathway may also be important. The prevalence of genetic polymorphisms in some vitamin D-responsive genes vary substantially by race/ethnicity, which may contribute to cancer health disparities.

    Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Early Preparation and Inspiration for Careers in the Biomedical Sciences (EPIC) Program is a university-high school partnership designed to increase interest and persistence in the sciences through career planning and the Epidemiology Challenge ("Epi") Challenge. The Epi Challenge is a project based learning experience where students develop and test their own hypotheses. Students work in teams to design their own study, test hypotheses and present their work in professional settings throughout the year. Professionals in biomedical research, epidemiology and public health provide student teams with advice and guidance. Teams are supported at their schools by dedicated science teacher coaches and a Penn State coach. High School career counselors play an integral role in meeting career objectives. The overview and videos created by students can be seen at the Penn State Epidemiology Challenge You Tube Channel: Webpage:

    Follow us on Twitter: @Epi_Challenge


    Allison Blumling, EPIC Research Assistant
    Nadine Crone, MPH, AICR Research Associate
    Robin Perry-Smith, MHA, EPIC Project Manager
    Shwetha Srikanth, MS, EPIC Research Associate
    Andrea Stennet, Lead Coach, Penn State Epidemiology Challenge
    Andrew Yeich, AICR Research Intern


    Inaugural Dean’s Diversity Champion Award, Penn State College of Medicine, 2012
    Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, Alpha Phi Chapter, University of Iowa, 2011
    Samuel F. Hinkle Outstanding Young Investigator Award Finalist, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, 2010
    Outstanding Mentor Award, Penn State College of Medicine, 2008

    Interested media should contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at 717-531-8606.

    American Institute for Cancer Research:

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    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Wilson RT, Watson E, Kaelin M, Huebner W. Early Preparation and Inspiration for STEM Careers: Preliminary Report of the Epidemiology Challenge Randomized Intervention, 2014-2015. Public Health Rep. 2018 Jan/Feb; 133(1):64-74. PMID: 29303691.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Wilson RT, Watson E, Kaelin M, Huebner W. Early Preparation and Inspiration for STEM Careers: Description and Interim Report of the Epidemiology Challenge Randomized Intervention. Public Health Reports. 2017; In press.
    3. Wilson RT, Hasanali SH, Sheikh M, Cramer S, Weinberg G, Firth A, Weiss SH, Soskolne CL. Challenges to the census: international trends and a need to consider public health benefits. Public Health. 2017 Oct; 151:87-97. PMID: 28759883.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Wilson RT, Masters LD, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Salzberg AC, Hartman TJ. Ancestry-Adjusted Vitamin D Metabolite Concentrations in Association with Cytochrome 3A (CYP3A) Polymorphisms. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Jun 30. PMID: 28673024.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Garrido AE, Strosnider WHJ, Wilson RT, Condori J, Nairn RW. Metal-contaminated potato crops and potential human health risk in Bolivian mining highlands. Environ Geochem Health. 2017 Jun; 39(3):681-700. PMID: 28337621.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Farag S, Das R, Strosnider WH, Wilson RT. Possible health effects of living in proximity to mining sites near Potosí, Bolivia. J Occup Environ Med. 2015 May; 57(5):543-51. PMID: 25689723.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Dai JP, Xu A, Battaglioli EJ, Stanley BA and Wilson RT. A Sensitive and Cost Effective LC/MS/MS Method for Determination of 1,25-Dihydroxylvitamin D3 in Human Plasma. LCGC North America. 2015; 1(13).
    8. Wilson RT, Bortner JD, Roff A, Das A, Battaglioli EJ, Richie JP, Barnholtz-Sloan J, Chinchilli VM, Berg A, Liu G, Salzberg AC, El-Bayoumy K. Genetic and environmental influences on plasma vitamin D binding protein concentrations. Transl Res. 2015 Jun; 165(6):667-76. PMID: 25234352.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Tilburt JC, Koller K, Tiesinga JJ, Wilson RT, Trinh AC, Hill K, Hall IJ, Smith JL, Ekwueme DU, Petersen WO. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Patterns of clinical response to PSA elevation in American Indian/Alaska Native men: A multi-center pilot study. 2013; 4(24):1676-85.
    10. Southard EB, Roff A, Fortugno TA, Richie JP Jr, Kaag M, Chinchilli VM, Weinstein S, Virtamo J, Albanes D and Wilson RT. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. Lead, calcium uptake and related genetic variants in association with renal cell carcinoma risk in a cohort of male Finnish smokers. 2012; 21(1):191-201.
    11. Southard EB, Roff A, Fortugno T, Richie JP, Kaag M, Chinchilli VM, Virtamo J, Albanes D, Weinstein S, Wilson RT. Lead, calcium uptake, and related genetic variants in association with renal cell carcinoma risk in a cohort of male Finnish smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Jan; 21(1):191-201. PMID: 22086884; PMCID: PMC3601826.
    12. Wilson RT, Giroux J, Kasicky KR, Fatupaito BH, Wood EC, Crichlow R, Rhodes NA, Tingueley J, Walling A, Langwell K, Cobb N. Public Health Reports. Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Patterns Among American Indian Women at IHS Clinics in Montana and Wyoming. 2011; 126(6):806-15.
    13. Wenrich TR, Brown JL, Wilson RT, Lengerich EJ. Impact of a community-based intervention on serving and intake of vegetables among low-income, rural Appalachian families. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jan-Feb; 44(1):36-45. PMID: 22023910.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Wilson RT, Roff AN, Dai PJ, Fortugno T, Douds J, Chen G, Grove GL, Nikiforova SO, Barnholtz-Sloan J, Frudakis T, Chinchilli VM, Hartman TJ, Demers LM, Shriver MD, Canfield VA, Cheng KC. Genetic Ancestry, Skin Reflectance and Pigmentation Genotypes in Association with Serum Vitamin D Metabolite Balance. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2011 Sep; 7(1):279-293. PMID: 23525585.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Wilson RT, Roff A, Douds J, Ongeri S. Biochemical Aspects of Human Nutrition, Avigliano L and Rossi L, eds. Vitamin D and Cancer. 2011.
    16. Wilson RT, Wang J, Chinchilli V, Richie JP, Virtamo J, Moore LE, Albanes D. Fish, vitamin D, and flavonoids in relation to renal cell cancer among smokers. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Sep 15; 170(6):717-29. PMID: 19651663; PMCID: PMC2768520.
    17. Thomas DC, Baurley JW, Brown EE, Figueiredo JC, Goldstein A, Hazra A, Wilson RT, Rothman N. Approaches to complex pathways in molecular epidemiology: summary of a special conference of the American Association for Cancer Research. Cancer Res. 2008 Dec 15; 68(24):10028-30. PMID: 19074865.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Roff A, Wilson RT. A novel SNP in a vitamin D response element of the CYP24A1 promoter reduces protein binding, transactivation, and gene expression. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2008 Nov; 112(1-3):47-54. PMID: 18824104; PMCID: PMC2749287.
    19. Wiggins CL, Espey DK, Wingo PA, Kaur JS, Wilson RT, Swan J, Miller BA, Jim MA, Kelly JJ, Lanier AP. Cancer among American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States, 1999-2004. Cancer. 2008 Sep 01; 113(5 Suppl):1142-52. PMID: 18720375.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Wilson RT, Richardson LC, Kelly JJ, Kaur J, Jim MA, Lanier AP. Cancers of the urinary tract among American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States, 1999-2004. Cancer. 2008 Sep 01; 113(5 Suppl):1213-24. PMID: 18720377; PMCID: PMC3587982.
    21. Wilson RT, Donahue M, Gridley G, Adami J, El Ghormli L, Dosemeci M. Shared occupational risks for transitional cell cancer of the bladder and renal pelvis among men and women in Sweden. Am J Ind Med. 2008 Feb; 51(2):83-99. PMID: 18067176; PMCID: PMC2800169.
    22. Karami S, Brennan P, Hung RJ, Boffetta P, Toro J, Wilson RT, Zaridze D, Navratilova M, Chatterjee N, Mates D, Janout V, Kollarova H, Bencko V, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Holcatova I, Moukeria A, Welch R, Chanock S, Rothman N, Chow WH, Moore LE. Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and renal cancer risk in Central and Eastern Europe. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008; 71(6):367-72. PMID: 18246496.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Wilson RT, Wallace RB. Trends in hip fracture incidence in young and older adults. Am J Public Health. 2007 Oct; 97(10):1734-5. PMID: 17761556; PMCID: PMC1994179.
    24. Wilson RT, Adams-Cameron M, Burhansstipanov L, Roubidoux MA, Cobb N, Lynch CF, Edwards BK. Disparities in breast cancer treatment among American Indian, Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Women Enrolled in Medicare. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2007 Aug; 18(3):648-64. PMID: 17675720.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Wilson RT, Chase GA, Chrischilles EA, Wallace RB. Hip fracture risk among community-dwelling elderly people in the United States: a prospective study of physical, cognitive, and socioeconomic indicators. Am J Public Health. 2006 Jul; 96(7):1210-8. PMID: 16735617; PMCID: PMC1483878.
    26. Wilson RT, Silverman DK, Fraumeni JF, Curtis R. New Malignancies Among Cancer Survivors: SEER Cancer Registries, 1973-2000. New malignancies following cancer of the bladder, renal pelvis, and kidney. 2006.
    27. Moore LE, Wilson RT, Campleman SL. Lifestyle factors, exposures, genetic susceptibility, and renal cell cancer risk: a review. Cancer Invest. 2005; 23(3):240-55. PMID: 15945510.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Wilson RT, Dick JF, Cobb N. Accuracy of Administrative Data for Tracking Preventive Services among American Indian Cancer Patients. IHS Primary Care Provider. 2005; 8(30):205-210.
    29. Wilson RT, Moore LE, Dosemeci M. Occupational exposures and salivary gland cancer mortality among African American and white workers in the United States. J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Mar; 46(3):287-97. PMID: 15091292.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Wiggins CL, Espey DL, Cobb N, Key CR, Darling RR, Davidson AM, Puckett LL, Miller BA, Wilson RT, Edwards BK . Annals of Epidemiology. Assessing and improving the quality of cancer surveillance data for American Indians in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. 2002; 7(23):531.
    31. Doebbeling BN, Wyant DK, McCoy KD, Riggs S, Woolson RF, Wagner D, Wilson RT, Lynch CF. Linked Insurance-Tumor Registry Database for Health Services Research. Medical Care. 1999; 11(37):1105-15.
    32. Rogers A, Wilson RT. Representing Structural Change in US Migration Patterns. Geographical Analysis. 1996; 1(28):1-17.
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