Blake Thomson, DPhil, MPhil

Principal Scientist, Cancer Disparity Research

cancer research changes our world

“What I love about cancer research is that it can identify clear, actionable opportunities that can lead to a healthier world. For example, cancer  research revealed not only how harmful smoking is, but also how beneficial quitting is. Such findings can both guide health policies and help people  make healthier choices.” 

At ACS since 2021

Blake Thomson, DPhil, MPhil, is a Principal Scientist on the Cancer Disparity Research team in the Surveillance & Health Equity Science department at the American Cancer Society (ACS). 

He studies the impact of common ‘lifestyle’ risk factors on cancer, with a focus on disparities caused by such factors as race and sex.

The objective of his research is to identify population-specific health messages and priorities for health policy.

Research Focus and accomplishments

Thomson’s research produced the first reliable estimates globally of the effects of initiating smoking in childhood (even before age 10) on adult mortality. 

His first-author research on the hazards of smoking and benefits of quitting have been published in Lancet Global HealthInternational Journal of Epidemiology, and JAHA.

Thomson also co-authored several landmark publications for the Global Burden of Disease Study, including research published in JAMA and The Lancet. 

He was among the lead authors of the 2014 study on the global prevalence of overweight and obesity, which has since been cited more than 11,000 times. 


For a full list of Dr. Thomson's publications, visit his Google Scholar page. 

Work before ACS

  • University of Oxford, Epidemiologist, 2020-2021
  • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Post-Bachelor Fellow, 2013-2015


  • DPhil: Population Health, University of Oxford, 2020
  • MPhil: Epidemiology, University of Cambridge, 2016
  • BA: Global Health, Arizona State University, 2013