Breast cancer, prevention, hormones, biomarkers, and women’s health
715 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
My research addresses the role of endogenous hormones in the etiology of breast cancer in women, including determining the lifestyle and genetic factors that influence hormone levels. This focus reflects a broad interest in the application of biomarkers in epidemiologic research. Much of my research has been conducted with the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) cohorts, where I am a senior investigator. I have conducted projects to evaluate the role of endogenous hormones and nutritional factors in breast cancer etiology in postmenopausal women. This work has helped establish circulating sex steroids and prolactin as independent predictors of risk in postmenopausal women; projects are now ongoing to evaluate if these markers can be used to improve breast cancer risk prediction models, which in turn could help guide screening and chemoprevention recommendations. I also am leading several projects assessing plasma and urinary markers that predict risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women — both to identify new biologic pathways and again to improve individual breast cancer risk prediction. Other current interests include evaluating stress markers, risk factors by breast cancer subtype, and incorporating tissue molecular characteristics into my research.