John D Potter


John D Potter is a Professor at CPHR, Massey University, Wellington; Adjunct Professor at University of Canterbury, Christchurch; and Senior Advisor, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at the University of Washington, both in Seattle, USA. John was up until recently, the Chief Science Advisor, New Zealand (NZ) Ministry of Health. Potter has had an outstanding international research career focussing on nutrition, other environmental and host factors, and genetics in the aetiology and pathobiology of cancer and other chronic diseases. This has broadened to “planetary overload”, especially in relation to diet and environmental degradation.

After 5 years of clinical medicine, Potter worked at CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition, Adelaide (1977-1986), completing his PhD and beginning his close partnership with Tony McMichael. Then, in the US, he held increasingly senior posts at the Universities of Minnesota and Washington and FHCRC (including as Director of its Division of Public Health Sciences, one of the largest groups of public-health scientists anywhere).

Potter chaired the international panel that produced Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective (1997). Recent visiting appointments have included the Cambridge Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon. He is founding co-chair of the Asia Cohort Consortium, a collaborative cohort study across Asia of 1.1 million people.

International awards include: India’s Gopalan Oration Gold Medal for nutrition science (1996); American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) DeWitt Goodman Lectureship for international leadership in research in nutrition, cancer, and cancer prevention (2000); the US National Cancer Institute Annual Advances in Cancer Prevention Award (2005); AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention (2009); and the 2012 Medal of Honour of IARC.

He is currently PI of CPHR’s research study: Comparison of two invitation-based methods for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling with standard recall for usual care among un- and under-screened Māori, Pacific and Asian women: a randomised controlled community trial to examine the effect of self-sampling on participation in cervical-cancer screening as well as participating as an investigator in other studies.

Potter has authored or co-authored more than 690 scientific papers, chapters, and books. His Scopus H-Index is 110 (see;;

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John D Potter