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Olufunmilayo (Funmi) I. Olopade, MB, BS, FACP

Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine
Professor of Human Genetics
Founding Director, Cancer Risk Clinic
Associate Dean for Global Health
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

Current Research

  • Seeking to improve access to quality care and prevention and breast cancer outcomes in underserved African women.

  • An international collaboration is ongoing for the development of infrastructure and training for new clinical research that will benefit underserved and understudied groups in Nigeria, Africa.

  • These efforts will help create a strong clinical research infrastructure, which can be used to further strengthen Nigeria’s capacity to address and respond to emerging cancer care needs.

There is a vacuum of knowledge that could otherwise save the lives of women of African ancestry in the US and across the African Diaspora.

The Nigeria Breast Cancer Study (NBCS) aims to improve the quality of breast cancer care in underserved low-resource communities through rigorous science and technology.  These efforts have led to a better understanding of the genomic landscape of breast cancer that can inform biomarker based clinical trials. 

Dr. Olopade's team has successfully conducted genetic epidemiology studies highlighting cancer risk factors specific to African populations, and have thus far illuminated the burden of breast cancer among young women, especially those with BCRA-associated breast cancers.

Building off her ever-growing and robust trans-Atlantic collaboration, her team is now focused on increasing capacity of the NBCS by facilitating investigator-initiated clinical research in Sub-Saharan Africa for the translation of new knowledge to benefit underserved and understudied populations. This effort involves training Nigerian oncologists on how to improve the quality of care through research so that patients receive more personalized treatment.

In separate, but related research, Dr. Olopade is co-investigator with BCRF colleague, Dezheng Huo on studies identifying patterns in the DNA of women from different ethnic backgrounds that may help to explain genetic differences in breast cancer incidence and outcomes. 


Dr. Olopade's research interests are diverse and include: 1) treatment of breast cancer, especially in young or pregnant women; 2) familial cancers; 3) molecular genetics of cancer; 4) cancer risk assessment and chemoprevention; 5) breast cancer and minority populations; 6) disparities in health outcomes. She has maintained externally funded laboratory and clinical research programs in cancer genetics since 1990. Currently, Dr. Olopade is the Principal Investigator on grants from the NIH/NCI, the Falk Medical Research Trust, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and the Avon Foundation. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has recognized her as a Distinguished Clinical Scientist and Exceptional Mentor.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Companies Brands Award in Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder
The ULTA Beauty Award