Serena Houghton

Visiting Lecturer
Health Promotion and Policy


  • BS, Biology, University of Mary Washington
  • MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Areas of Specialization: 

  • Women’s Health
  • Cancer
  • Nutrition
  • Epidemiology

Research Description: 

My long-term research interests lie in investigating how dietary factors or nutritional status impact women’s health, particularly breast cancer. During my doctoral training, I primarily focused on nutrition and several disorders affecting women’s health, including ovarian cancer and premenstrual syndrome. My dissertation focused on whether macronutrient intake was associated with the development of premenstrual syndrome using the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort. 

Currently as a postdoctoral research associate, I work with Dr. Susan E. Hankinson conducting research within the Nurses’ Health Study Cohorts evaluating dietary factors and nutritional status as they relate to breast cancer risk and survival, with the goal of finding ways to reduce breast cancer incidence and mortality. 

Key Publications: 

  • Houghton SC, Bertone-Johnson ER. 2015. Chapter 5: Macronutrients and Premenstrual Syndrome.  Advances in Medicine and Biology, 87. 
  • Houghton SC, Reeves KW, Hankinson SE, Crawford L, Lane D, Wactawski-Wende J, Thomson C, Ockene JK, Sturgeon SR. 2014. Perineal powder use and risk of ovarian cancer.  Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 106 (9), dju208. 
  • Bertone-Johnson ER, Ronnenberg AG, Houghton SC, Nobles C, Zagarins SE, Takashima-Uebelhoer BB, Whitcomb BW. 2014. Association of inflammatory markers with menstrual symptoms and premenstrual syndrome in young adult women. Human Reproduction, 29 (9), 1987-1994.