Dr. Stampfer’s long-term interest is investigating nutritional and lifestyle risk factors for chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and cancer in large cohorts and randomized clinical trials. His research revolves primarily around four major prospective studies: the Nurses’ Health Study, a cohort of 121,700 nurses followed since 1976, Nurses’ Health Study II, a cohort of 116,680 nurses followed since 1989, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a cohort of 51,000 men begun in 1986, and the Physicians’ Health Study of 22,071 men followed since 1982. He serves as PI for the Nurses’ Health Study, and is a founding co-investigator for the other three studies. Biologic samples have been collected in each of the cohorts, sometimes repeatedly. Using a nested case-control design, the samples are analyzed for a variety of markers of cancer and heart disease risk. Endpoints of interest include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, fractures, diabetes, and other major health problems. He and his team are also initiating studies in cancer survivorship, including quality of life. They examine a wide range of topics in these studies, but a major focus is on nutrition. Dr. Stampfer was also a member of the 2000 US dietary guidelines committee.
Most of Dr. Stampfer’s teaching is at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where he teaches the course entitled “Practice of Epidemiology”. He served as chair of the Department of Epidemiology 2000-2007, and is PI of two training grants related to cancer epidemiology. At Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he serves as Head of the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Unit.