Associate Director, Population Sciences

Associate Director for Population Sciences

Ruth E. Patterson, PhD
Associate Director, Population Sciences
Program Leader, Cancer Prevention

Professor, Family Medicine and Public Health

Ruth E. Patterson, PhD, is a professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health as well as Associate Director, Population Sciences and leader of the Cancer Prevention program at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health.

Dr. Patterson received her undergraduate training in Nutrition and Dietetics at Northern Illinois University and an MS from the University of Missouri at Columbia. After completing a PhD in Nutrition Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Patterson was promoted to Full Member as well as Research Professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Epidemiology and the Nutritional Sciences Program. While at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, she was co-PI of the Coordinating Center for a nationwide study of 161,808 postmenopausal women (the Women’s Health Initiative or WHI). Dr. Patterson was responsible for scientific direction of activities related to a randomized low-fat dietary intervention trial that included 48,837 participants. Dr. Patterson also served as co-PI of a study of 75,000 Washington state residents examining vitamin supplement use and cancer risk.

For five years, Dr. Patterson worked at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company that developed and commercialized novel, injectable drugs for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. In particular, she was Senior Director of the Regulatory Medical Writing group and founded the Pharmacoepidemiology Division of Global Safety. This experience led to her interest in obesity and diabetes, particularly in the context of cancer prevention.

Dr. Patterson’s research is focused on nutrition assessment, epidemiology, and cancer prevention, and she has over 150 peer-reviewed publications and 10 book chapters.

In 2011, Dr. Patterson was awarded a NCI-designated Transdisciplinary Center on Energetics and Cancer (TREC), one of only four in the nation . The objective of the UC San Diego TREC Center is to assemble transdisciplinary scientific collaborators to address questions regarding insulin resistance and inflammation underlying the association of energetics with breast cancer carcinogenesis, from the cell to the community. Dr. Patterson’s TREC project assesses the effect of weight reduction and metformin (an antidiabetic agent) on breast cancer mortality among breast cancer survivors. Her current research interests are focused on the hypothesis that prolonged nightly fasting will reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers, by improving multiple metabolic parameters.

Contact information:

Ruth E. Patterson, PhD