Unnur Valdimarsdóttir

Professor of Epidemiology, University of Iceland


With particular focus on prostate cancer, the overarching aim of my research program is to understand the role of emotional stress on cancer progression as well as immediate adverse outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. I lead a graduate program in public health sciences at the University of Iceland, and a research group of several doctoral students and post docs; together with an extended network of collaborators from the ToPCaP network we typically utilize the unique nation-wide heath registries of the Nordic countries with large prospective cohorts in the US, Iceland and Sweden (with detailed exposure information and biomarkers) to address these hypotheses with epidemiological methods. We seek to understand whether tumor characteristics at diagnosis and prostate cancer progression are affected by various indicators of stress, e.g. stressful life events (loss of family members), mental morbidity (anxiety and depression), lack of social support, sleep disruption, as well as biomarkers of these (cortisol, catecholamines, heart rate variability and melatonin levels).