John K. Wiencke PhD


Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery and Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Co-Director, Division of Neuroepidemiology



Dr. Wiencke's background is in cytogenetics, radiation biology, and molecular epidemiology. His research has focused on biomarkers of exposure to chemical toxins and tobacco smoke and on genetic susceptibility to environmental exposures. Wiencke is the director of the laboratory providing support for epidemiological and clinical studies in neuroepidemiology. His laboratory is currently studying molecular subgroups of glioma and aberrant gene methylation.

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

1976: BS, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
1978: MS, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
1983: PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
1983-1986: Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental Health, UCSF
1986-1989: Assistant Research Geneticist, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1986-1995: Research Associate, Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental Health, UCSF
1990-1993: Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1990-2004: Director, Molecular Epidemiology Lab, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1993-1999: Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1995-2004: Director, Molecular Epidemiology Program, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1999-2002: Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
2002-2004: Professor In Residence (Joint Appointment Current), Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

American Association for Cancer Research
American Society of Human Genetics
Environmental Health Institute

Selected Honors and Awards

1983: Bacaner Basic Science Award, University of Minnesota

Selected Recent Publications

Kelsey KT, Wiencke JK. Immunomethylomics: A Novel Cancer Risk Prediction Tool. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018 Apr;15(Supplement_2):S76-S80. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201706-477MG. PubMed PMID: 29676642.

Jacobs DI, Liu Y, Gabrusiewicz K, Tsavachidis S, Armstrong GN, Zhou R, Wei J, Ivan C, Calin G, Molinaro AM, Rice T, Bracci PM, Hansen HM, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Heimberger AB, Bondy ML. Germline polymorphisms in myeloid-associated genes are not associated with survival in glioma patients. J Neurooncol. 2018 Jan;136(1):33-39. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2622-6. Epub 2017 Sep 30. PubMed PMID: 28965162; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5756111.

Zhang C, de Smith AJ, Smirnov IV, Wiencke JK, Wiemels JL, Witte JS, Walsh KM. Non-additive and epistatic effects of HLA polymorphisms contributing to risk of adult glioma. J Neurooncol. 2017 Nov;135(2):237-244. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2569-7. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PubMed PMID: 28721485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5665694.

Jones CC, Bush WS, Crawford DC, Wenzlaff AS, Schwartz AG, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Blot WJ, Chanock SJ, Grogan EL, Aldrich MC. Germline Genetic Variants and Lung Cancer Survival in African Americans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Aug;26(8):1288-1295. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0998. Epub 2017 Jun 15. PubMed PMID: 28619829; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5540773.

Melin BS, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Wrensch MR, Johansen C, Il'yasova D, Kinnersley B, Ostrom QT, Labreche K, Chen Y, Armstrong G, Liu Y, Eckel-Passow JE, Decker PA, Labussière M, Idbaih A, Hoang-Xuan K, Di Stefano AL, Mokhtari K, Delattre JY, Broderick P, Galan P, Gousias K, Schramm J, Schoemaker MJ, Fleming SJ, Herms S, Heilmann S, Nöthen MM, Wichmann HE, Schreiber S, Swerdlow A, Lathrop M, Simon M, Sanson M, Andersson U, Rajaraman P, Chanock S, Linet M, Wang Z, Yeager M; GliomaScan Consortium, Wiencke JK, Hansen H, McCoy L, Rice T, Kosel ML, Sicotte H, Amos CI, Bernstein JL, Davis F, Lachance D, Lau C, Merrell RT, Shildkraut J, Ali-Osman F, Sadetzki S, Scheurer M, Shete S, Lai RK, Claus EB, Olson SH, Jenkins RB, Houlston RS, Bondy ML. Genome-wide association study of glioma subtypes identifies specific differences in genetic susceptibility to glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma tumors. Nat Genet. 2017 May;49(5):789-794. doi: 10.1038/ng.3823. Epub 2017 Mar 27. PubMed PMID: 28346443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5558246.

Pekmezci M, Rice T, Molinaro AM, Walsh KM, Decker PA, Hansen H, Sicotte H, Kollmeyer TM, McCoy LS, Sarkar G, Perry A, Giannini C, Tihan T, Berger MS, Wiemels JL, Bracci PM, Eckel-Passow JE, Lachance DH, Clarke J, Taylor JW, Luks T, Wiencke JK, Jenkins RB, Wrensch MR. Adult infiltrating gliomas with WHO 2016 integrated diagnosis: additional prognostic roles of ATRX and TERT. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Jun;133(6):1001-1016. doi: 10.1007/s00401-017-1690-1. Epub 2017 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 28255664; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5432658.

Telomeres Mendelian Randomization Collaboration, Haycock PC, Burgess S, Nounu A, et al. Association Between Telomere Length and Risk of Cancer and Non-Neoplastic Diseases: A Mendelian Randomization Study. JAMA Oncol. 2017 May 1;3(5):636-651. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.5945. PubMed PMID: 28241208; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5638008.

Wiencke JK, Koestler DC, Salas LA, Wiemels JL, Roy RP, Hansen HM, Rice T, McCoy LS, Bracci PM, Molinaro AM, Kelsey KT, Wrensch MR, Christensen BC. Immunomethylomic approach to explore the blood neutrophil lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in glioma survival. Clin Epigenetics. 2017 Feb 2;9:10. doi: 10.1186/s13148-017-0316-8. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28184256; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5288996.

Koestler DC, Usset J, Christensen BC, Marsit CJ, Karagas MR, Kelsey KT, Wiencke JK. DNA Methylation-Derived Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio: An Epigenetic Tool to Explore Cancer Inflammation and Outcomes. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Mar;26(3):328-338. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0461. Epub 2016 Dec 13. PubMed PMID: 27965295; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5336518.

Chen LS, Baker T, Hung RJ, Horton A, Culverhouse R, Hartz S, Saccone N, Cheng I, Deng B, Han Y, Hansen HM, Horsman J, Kim C, Rosenberger A, Aben KK, Andrew AS, Chang SC, Saum KU, Dienemann H, Hatsukami DK, Johnson EO, Pande M, Wrensch MR, McLaughlin J, Skaug V, van der Heijden EH, Wampfler J, Wenzlaff A, Woll P, Zienolddiny S, Bickeböller H, Brenner H, Duell EJ, Haugen A, Brüske I, Kiemeney LA, Lazarus P, Le Marchand L, Liu G, Mayordomo J, Risch A, Schwartz AG, Teare MD, Wu X, Wiencke JK, Yang P, Zhang ZF, Spitz MR, Amos CI, Bierut LJ. Genetic Risk Can Be Decreased: Quitting Smoking Decreases and Delays Lung Cancer for Smokers With High and Low CHRNA5 Risk Genotypes - A Meta-Analysis. EBioMedicine. 2016 Sep;11:219-226. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.08.012. Epub 2016 Aug 10. PubMed PMID: 27543155; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5049934.

Kim S, Eliot M, Koestler DC, Houseman EA, Wetmur JG, Wiencke JK, Kelsey KT. Enlarged leukocyte referent libraries can explain additional variance in blood-based epigenome-wide association studies. Epigenomics. 2016 Sep;8(9):1185-92. doi: 10.2217/epi-2016-0037. Epub 2016 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 27529193; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5072420.

Zanetti KA, Wang Z, Aldrich M, Amos CI, Blot WJ, Bowman ED, Burdette L, Cai Q, Caporaso N, Chung CC, Gillanders EM, Haiman CA, Hansen HM, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN, Marchand LL, Li S, McNeill LH, Ryan BM, Schwartz AG, Sison JD, Spitz MR, Tucker M, Wenzlaff AS, Wiencke JK, Wilkens L, Wrensch MR, Wu X, Zheng W, Zhou W, Christiani D, Palmer JR, Penning TM, Rieber AG, Rosenberg L, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Su L, Vachani A, Wei Y, Whitehead AS, Chanock SJ, Harris CC. Genome-wide association study confirms lung cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 5p15 and 15q25 in an African-American population. Lung Cancer. 2016 Aug;98:33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2016.05.008. Epub 2016 May 13. PubMed PMID: 27393504; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4939239.

Machiela MJ, Zhou W, Karlins E, et al. Female chromosome X mosaicism is age-related and preferentially affects the inactivated X chromosome. Nat Commun. 2016 Jun 13;7:11843. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11843. PubMed PMID: 27291797; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4909985.

Ojha J, Codd V, Nelson CP, Samani NJ, Smirnov IV, Madsen NR, Hansen HM, de Smith AJ, Bracci PM, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Wiemels JL, Walsh KM; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group. Genetic Variation Associated with Longer Telomere Length Increases Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jul;25(7):1043-9. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-1329. Epub 2016 May 13. PubMed PMID: 27197291; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5008454.

David SP, Wang A, Kapphahn K, Hedlin H, Desai M, Henderson M, Yang L, Walsh KM, Schwartz AG, Wiencke JK, Spitz MR, Wenzlaff AS, Wrensch MR, Eaton CB, Furberg H, Mark Brown W, Goldstein BA, Assimes T, Tang H, Kooperberg CL, Quesenberry CP, Tindle H, Patel MI, Amos CI, Bergen AW, Swan GE, Stefanick ML. Gene by Environment Investigation of Incident Lung Cancer Risk in African-Americans. EBioMedicine. 2016 Jan 11;4:153-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.01.002. eCollection 2016 Feb. PubMed PMID: 26981579; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4776066.

Wiencke JK, Butler R, Hsuang G, Eliot M, Kim S, Sepulveda MA, Siegel D, Houseman EA, Kelsey KT. The DNA methylation profile of activated human natural killer cells. Epigenetics. 2016 May 3;11(5):363-80. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2016.1163454. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 26967308; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4889279.

Koestler DC, Jones MJ, Usset J, Christensen BC, Butler RA, Kobor MS, Wiencke JK, Kelsey KT. Improving cell mixture deconvolution by identifying optimal DNA methylation libraries (IDOL). BMC Bioinformatics. 2016 Mar 8;17:120. doi: 10.1186/s12859-016-0943-7. PubMed PMID: 26956433; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4782368.

Rice T, Lachance DH, Molinaro AM, Eckel-Passow JE, Walsh KM, Barnholtz-Sloan J, Ostrom QT, Francis SS, Wiemels J, Jenkins RB, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR. Understanding inherited genetic risk of adult glioma - a review. Neurooncol Pract. 2016 Mar;3(1):10-16. Epub 2015 Aug 25. PubMed PMID: 26941959; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4774334.

Jupe ER, Dalessandri KM, Mulvihill JJ, Miike R, Knowlton NS, Pugh TW, Zhao LP, DeFreese DC, Manjeshwar S, Gramling BA, Wiencke JK, Benz CC. A steroid metabolizing gene variant in a polyfactorial model improves risk prediction in a high incidence breast cancer population. BBA Clin. 2014 Nov 8;2:94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.11.001. eCollection 2014 Dec. PubMed PMID: 26673457; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4633888.

Walsh KM, Codd V, Rice T, Nelson CP, Smirnov IV, McCoy LS, Hansen HM, Elhauge E, Ojha J, Francis SS, Madsen NR, Bracci PM, Pico AR, Molinaro AM, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Jenkins RB, Wiemels JL; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group, Samani NJ, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR. Longer genotypically-estimated leukocyte telomere length is associated with increased adult glioma risk. Oncotarget. 2015 Dec 15;6(40):42468-77. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6468. PubMed PMID: 26646793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4767445.