Nancy Potischman Joins Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Nancy A. Potischman has joined the department of biostatistics and epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts.

Potischman, an associate professor, joined the University from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., where she conducted research for the past 11 years on the causes of cancer. She specializes in nutritional and dietary epidemiology, the study of the link between diet and disease. Potischman''s research examines how foods and nutrients may influence the chances of a woman developing tumors of the breast, uterus, or cervix. Her research also focuses on the associations between hormones and female cancers, and evaluating links between hormones, diet and body weight, and risk of cancer.

She has been involved in a series of studies on women''s diet and how that relates to disease, including a study of 10,000 women in Costa Rica completed in 1993-94, and a 1990-92 study of breast cancer among young women examining the risks related to adolescent dietary patterns. Potischman will continue exploring the association between diet and cervical abnormalities and pursuing leads on the relation of early life factors and risk of breast cancer.

Potischman recently embarked on a new area of research that focuses on factors related to a female''s experiences in utero and during the first year of life to determine whether certain conditions are predictors for breast cancer in later life. She organized a recent workshop in Washington, D.C., on "Early Life Exposures and Risk of Breast Cancer," and will publish a summary of the research later this year.

In addition to her research, Potischman is designing courses in nutritional epidemiology and principles of epidemiology for the University.

A Massachusetts native, Potischman says accepting a position at UMass completes a journey she began when she earned her bachelor''s degree in biochemistry at the University in 1978. She earned her doctorate in nutritional sciences at Cornell University in 1989.