Aaron Blair

Member, OCRC Scientific Advisory Committee and Former Interim Director, OCRC

Like many in the field, Aaron Blair took an unexpected route toward occupational cancer research. While teaching at a small college shortly after finishing his PhD in genetics, he took a preparatory course that happened to be offered by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. In learning more about the field of public health, he realized that he might be interested in researching what causes disease – it wasn’t until then that he understood this practice to be ‘epidemiology’. Drawing upon his experiences growing up in a rural farming community, it was natural for Aaron to build his career in epidemiology with a focus on agricultural exposures. Though he recently retired after 30 years leading the occupational cancer unit at the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., Aaron remains excited about occupational cancer research because of the need to eliminate workplace hazards and the thrill of discovering new relationships – a process he likens to solving a mystery. He was the Interim Director of OCRC from 2009 to 2010, bringing international credibility and expertise, and providing invaluable guidance as the groundwork for the Centre was laid.

Key Appointments

  • Scientist Emeritus, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute


  • B.A. (Biology), Kansas Wesleyan University (1965)
  • M.S. (Botany), North Carolina State University (1967)
  • Ph.D. (Genetics), North Carolina State University (1970)
  • M.P.H. (Epidemiology), University of North Carolina (1976)