Kenneth M. Boucher, PhD
Research Associate Professor, Department of Oncological Sciences
Ken Boucher, PhD, is a research associate professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. He is interim director of the Biostatistics Shared Resource. He is also a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator and member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program.
He is a mathematician studying cancer patterns. One of his research projects examines the effect that heredity has in cancer development. When clusters of cancer are discovered within several generations of one family, this suggests that the family may carry a genetic mutation in one of their genes that predisposes them to cancer. Boucher and his colleagues use mathematics to determine the likelihood of certain family members developing cancer, and also to identify possible carriers.
Much of the information that Boucher examines comes from the Utah Population Database. In this database, the genealogies of nearly six million people have been cross-referenced to the records of the Utah Cancer Registry and to death certificates, thus making it possible to follow long-term cancer patterns in large families. Boucher's goal is to use this information to better understand the genetics of cancer inheritance, which may, in turn, lead to the discovery of new genetic cancer predictors.
Boucher is also using mathematical models to investigate the efficacy of breast cancer screening and to analyze risk factors in colon cancer development. In addition, he collaborates with other scientists in the examination of RNA using microarray analysis. Scientists use the information gathered in microarray analysis to identify genes that are malfunctioning in cancerous cells and then target those genes for further research that could lead to new treatments.
Boucher earned his PhD in mathematics at the University of Michigan and joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 1996.