Rochester, Minnesota




The research program of Ellen L. Goode, Ph.D., focuses on the genetic and molecular epidemiology of cancer, particularly ovarian and colorectal cancers. Both cancers have known genetic origins and evidence for the existence of additional inherited factors.

To better understand the origins of ovarian cancer, Dr. Goode studies women with and without ovarian cancer who are seen at Mayo Clinic. Study participants respond to a research questionnaire and provide a blood sample, which allows for analysis of inherited and lifestyle factors. To identify novel factors associated with outcome, tumors from affected women are also studied.

In colorectal cancer, Dr. Goode studies multiply-affected families to identify genomic regions shared among affected individuals that are worthy of additional investigation.

Focus areas

  • To find novel inherited factors in ovarian cancer, Dr. Goode examines variants throughout the genome via large collaborations. The international Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium combines data from more than 40 epidemiologic studies.
  • To better understand the functional impact of inherited variation, Dr. Goode examines expression and methylation in relation to genetics in the tumors of Mayo Clinic study participants and with the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis consortium.
  • To tease out the role of immune factors in ovarian cancer risk and outcome, Dr. Goode focuses on the nuclear factor kappa-B family of transcription factors and regulatory T cells in large multidisciplinary efforts.
  • To follow-up on genomic regions that may contain novel colorectal cancer genes, the Colon Cancer Family Registry (Colon CFR) performs targeted sequencing of affected individuals and families.

Significance to patient care

The identification of inherited factors in ovarian and colorectal cancer should lead to improved risk prediction among individuals with a family history of cancer.

Single factors alone are not likely to play a major role. However, in combination, individuals at particularly increased risk may be identified and targeted for prevention efforts.

Genetics related to outcome may have particular significance to patient care. For example, if inherited or tumor factors exhibit a prognostic role in the context of a particular chemotherapy, the use or avoidance of specific treatments may be beneficial.

Finally, research that increases the understanding of these cancers will advance biological knowledge and facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.

Professional highlights

  • Educational Committee (2013-present), Program Committee (2006-2008), Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Committee (2003-2006) and Chair (2006) — International Genetic Epidemiology Society
  • Chair (2011-2013), Data Access Coordinating Committee (2011-present), and Steering Committee (2008-present) — Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium
  • Project Approval Committee (2012-present) — Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis consortium
  • Visiting Scholar (2012) — Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, National Cancer Institute
  • Analytic and Risk Modeling Working Group, Epidemiology and Clinical Working Group and Functional Assays Working Group (2011-present) — Genetic Associations and Mechanisms in Oncology (GAME-ON) Post-Genome Wide Association (Post GWA) Initiative, National Cancer Institute
  • Exome Working Group (2009-present) — Colon Cancer Family Registry, National Cancer Institute


See my publications


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Epidemiology


  1. Certificate - Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar Association of American Medical Colleges
  2. Post Doctoral Fellowship - Genetics of Colorectal Cancer Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  3. Certificate - Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington
  4. Post Doctoral Fellowship - Genetics of Breast Cancer University of Cambridge
  5. Certificate - Public Health Genetics School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington
  6. PhD - Epidemiology/Genetics of Prostate Cancer University of Washington
  7. MPH - Epidemiology/Genetics of Breast Cancer University of California, Berkeley
  8. BS - Biological Sciences/Genetics and Development Cornell University

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