Dr. T. Colin Campbell Professional Resume

Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry (Cornell)

Colin Campbell was trained at Penn State (B.S.), Cornell (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology, and spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus).

Campbell’s principal scientific interest, which began with his graduate training in the late 1950’s, has been on the effects of nutritional status on long-term health, particularly on the causation of cancer. He has conducted original research both in laboratory experiments and in large-scale human studies; received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly NIH) during his experimental research career, has served on several research grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, has lectured extensively, and has authored over 350 mostly peer-reviewed research papers.

Highlights of Dr. Campbell’s activities include:

  • Coordinated a USAID-supported technical assistance nationwide nutrition program for malnourished pre-school age children in the Philippines (1966-74). An unexpected observation was the apparent association of higher protein consumption with primary liver cancer in children, an observation that was confirmed and that then led to many years of funding support, peer-reviewed professional publications and a much broader perspective on the association of high protein diets with increased risk for cancer and other diseases.
  • Conducted landmark laboratory research during the 1960s-1990s, including a pivotal experiment in 1983, showing that cancer could be readily, even completely, controlled by the amount and kind of protein being consumed. This finding then led to discoveries of multiple principles that give new meaning to the concept of nutrition, including its 1) control of gene expression, 2) simultaneous prevention and treatment of serious illness, 3) compatible effects on multiple disease and health outcomes and 4) biological function by a synergy of explanatory mechanisms.
  • Organized and directed a multi-national project responsible for nationwide surveys of diet, lifestyle and mortality in the People’s Republic of China (1981-ca. 2005). This began with the publication of a Chinese government atlas of mortality rates for about a dozen types of cancer in 2,500 counties (about 800 million population) for the years 1973-75. This atlas showed a wide range of cancer rates, thus prompting the survey on dietary and lifestyle practices in 130 villages across China for the purpose of learning which patterns of dietary and lifestyle factors might explain the geographically localized higher rates of cancer. These data were then combined with the disease mortality data that then led to the multi-institutional project involving Cornell University, Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Two dozen laboratories located in six countries participated in analyzing blood and urine samples for various clinical biomarkers for disease occurrence. This was the first research project between the U.S. and mainland China, later, including a follow-up project with Taiwan, the first between mainland China and Taiwan.
  • Co-authored and served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences expert panels on saccharin carcinogenicity (1978); food safety policy (1978-79); diet, nutrition and cancer (1980-82); research recommendations on diet, nutrition and cancer (1982-83); and food labeling policy (1989-1990). This activity provided rich opportunities for gaining a broader understanding of the programs that the U.S. uses to establish national food and health policies.
  • Organized and Co-Chaired (but listed as Senior Science Advisor) of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research report on international diet and cancer recommendations (1993-1997). This report and its 10-year second report have since been widely cited in the cancer literature.
  • Acted as the principal witness for the National Academy of Sciences in two Federal Trade Commission hearings on issues concerning product-specific health claims (1984-1986). This 3-year position involved testifying under oath about health claims that were being made for nutrient supplements in the marketplace, especially for the expressed purpose of developing supplements for cancer prevention. This also provided a rich experience into and understanding of the vague interface between scientific reliability and marketability for these supplements.
  • Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Infirmary, University of Oxford/England (1985-1986). Served as a member of Green College (University of Oxford, U.K.) and had the extraordinary and very personal experience of working with the world’s most recognized and experienced epidemiologists, Sir Richard Peto and Sir Richard Doll. They had co-authored for the U.S. government’s Congressional Office of Technology Assessment the well-known and widely cited 1981 report on diet and cancer that still today is the key reference for diet and cancer associations of note. Sir Richard Doll wrote a forward for Campbell’s 896-page monograph of the data from China while Sir Richard Peto became one of the four principle investigators of this project that Campbell directed.
  • Served as the Senior Science Advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund (1983-1987, 1992-1997). The AICR was perceived as a competitor of the American Cancer Society, which generated some difficult circumstances that had to be resolved. A few years later, it expanded to the U.K. to form the World Cancer Research Fund located in London. Campbell was their senior science advisor and the first scientist to be involved with both of these organizations. This work, at times quite challenging, eventually was most rewarding because these organizations, together, ultimately raised several hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and education on the important relationship of diet with cancer. Some years later, Campbell received the Lifetime Achievement Award from AICR.
  • Campbell presently serves as an Advisory Professor at Jiao Tong University Shanghai and the Research Advisory Board of the Chinese Institute of Nutritional Sciences in the Chinese Academy of Science. This is the government’s leading institution responsible for nutrition research and policy in China.
  • Campbell co-authored (with Thomas Campbell, II) the best-selling The China Study (2005) and Whole (2013), both of which were based on his research findings.


1956 Penn State BSPre-Veterinary Medicine

1957 Cornell MSNutrition, Biochemistry

1962 Cornell PhDNutrition, Biochemistry and Microbiology


Societies and Honors (selected):

  • American Society for Nutritional Sciences (FASEB)
  • International Nutrition Society
  • American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (FASEB-inactive)
  • NIH Research Career Development Award (1974-1976)
  • National Cancer Institute Exchange Scholar to the Peoples Republic of China (1981)
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Taiwan Nutrition Society (1991)
  • Research featured on cover of Journal of National Cancer Institute (1985) and Cancer Research (1991)
  • 1997 Recipient, First Prize for Most Outstanding Publication in Preventive Medicine in China for 20 Years, 1976-1996
  • 1998 Top 25 Food Influentials, Self Magazine
  • 1985-6 Green College Scholar, University of Oxford, UK
  • 1998 American Institute for Cancer Research Award “in recognition of a lifetime of significant accomplishments in scientific research and his efforts in furthering scientific knowledge and understanding in diet, nutrition and cancer”
  • 2003 American Association of University Professors Heikkila Memorial Lecture, New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • 2004 Burton Kallman Scientific Award, National Nutritional Foods Association
  • 2006 Book of the Year Award, Veg News
  • 2006 Hall of Fame, North American Vegetarian Society
  • 2011 Winsome Constance Kindness Trust Gold Medal for Humanitarian Service (International)
  • 2011 New York School Lunch Coalition ‘Visionary of the Year’
  • 2011 Katerva First Place (International) for Food Security
  • 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award (Plantrician Project and Conference)
  • 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award (American College of Lifestyle Medicine)

Professional positions:

1985-presentJacob Gould Schurman Professor (and Professor Emeritus since 2001) of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (Emeritus since 04/01/00)


2007-presentResearch Advisory Professor, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China


1991-presentHonorary Professor, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine


1983-presentDirector, Nutrition and Cancer Program Project (Collaborative Project with Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences/China Cancer Institute, and University of Oxford)


2003-presentResearch Advisory Panel, Chinese Institute of Nutritional Sciences


2001Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus, Cornell University

2000-2001CEO, President, Paracelsian, Inc.


1992-1997Senior Science Advisor, World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research


1994-1997Organizer and Co-Chair, Expert Panel, Dietary Prevention of Cancer Worldwide


1985-1986Visiting Scholar, Green College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England


1985-presentEndowed Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


1975-1985Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


1983-1987Senior Science Advisor, American Institute for Cancer Research, Falls Church, Virginia


1978-1979Senior Scientific Consultant, Life Sciences Research Office, FASEB, Bethesda, Maryland (Sabbatical leave)


1974-1975Professor of Biochemistry and Nutrition, VPI&SU, Blacksburg, Virginia


1965-1974Assistant/Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Nutrition, VPI&SU, Blacksburg, Virginia

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