Skip to Content

Current Fellows in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch

Meet the current fellows in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch and learn about research training opportunities.

Kathryn Hughes Barry, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Kathryn Hughes Barry

Kathryn Hughes Barry, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in 2009 as a predoctoral fellow through the Yale/NCI Partnership Training program. Dr. Barry received a B.S. from Tufts University in 2003, and her M.P.H. from Yale University in 2005. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she spent two years as a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow at the Washington State Department of Health, where she engaged in cluster investigations of non-infectious conditions, including childhood and breast cancers and aplastic anemia. In her dissertation research in OEEB, Dr. Barry investigated cancer risk associated with pesticide exposures and the modifying role of inherited genetic variation in DNA repair genes in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). After receiving her Ph.D. from Yale in 2011, Dr. Barry was promoted to postdoctoral fellow. She is working with Michael C. R. Alavanja, Dr.P.H, senior investigator, OEEB, to continue her research on pesticides and cancer risk in the AHS and other populations. In addition, Dr. Barry is working with Sonja Berndt, Pharm.D., Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, to study the relationship between epigenetic variation, genetic variation, and cancer risk, as well as epigenetic variation associated with occupational/environmental exposures, in various studies. She is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Bryan Bassig, M.P.H. - Predoctoral Fellow

Bryan Bassig, M.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a predoctoral fellow in August 2012 as part of the Yale/NCI Training Program in Cancer Epidemiology. Mr. Bassig received his B.S. in health services with minors in biology and bioethics from Saint Joseph’s University in 2008. He received his M.P.H. degree in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University in 2010. For his dissertation research, Mr. Bassig is working with Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB, and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., senior investigator, OEEB, and his Yale mentor Dr. Tongzhang Zheng. He is evaluating molecular, genetic, and environmental risk factors for lymphoid malignancies in eastern Asia using data from several case-control and prospective studies. In addition to his dissertation work, Mr. Bassig is involved in other OEEB studies, including a hospital-based case-control study of lymphoma in Asia (AsiaLymph) and cross-sectional molecular epidemiology studies of workers occupationally exposed to trichloroethylene and benzene. Prior to joining OEEB as a predoctoral fellow, Mr. Bassig worked in OEEB as a postbaccalaureate fellow and held research positions at the Yale School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Department of Health.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Benjamin Booth, M.S. - Predoctoral Fellow

Benjamin Booth, M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a predoctoral fellow in April 2013. He earned a B.S. in health promotion and education from the University of Utah in 2007 and a M.S. in epidemiology from the University of Iowa College of Public Health in 2009.  He is currently enrolled as a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health. Under the mentorship of Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, and Dr. Leslie Stayner, Professor, UIC, Mr. Booth is investigating associations between several routes of pesticide exposure and childhood cancer occurrence in U.S. populations. He is also evaluating childhood cancer risk in European populations from the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium. He is a member of the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Back to Top

Curt DellaValle, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Curt DellaValle

Curt DellaValle, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2010. He earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Connecticut in 2000 and received his M.P.H., in 2005 and Ph.D. in environmental health sciences in 2010, both from Yale University. The focus of Dr. DellaValle’s dissertation research was the development and evaluation of exposure modeling techniques for ambient allergens. The primary purpose of this research was to assess ambient allergen exposure at the individual level. In particular, he investigated the association between ambient allergen exposures and daily respiratory symptoms among a cohort of asthmatic children. In OEEB, under the direction of mentor Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, Dr. DellaValle is focusing on improvement and validation of methods for assessing environmental exposures in epidemiological studies of cancer. His research projects include developing estimates of nitrate levels in groundwater aquifers for the Agricultural Health Study cohort to evaluate risk of gastrointestinal cancers and estimating the geographic extent of pesticide drift from agricultural pesticide applications for evaluation of lymphohematopoietic cancers. He is a member of the International Society of Exposure Science.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Jonathan Hofmann, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Research Fellow

Jonathan Hofmann

Jonathan Hofmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in May 2009. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington, where his dissertation research focused on occupational and genetic determinants of serum cholinesterase inhibition among organophosphate-exposed agricultural pesticide handlers. Dr. Hofmann's research interests include occupational and environmental determinants of cancer, with a particular emphasis on biomarkers of exposure, susceptibility, and early biologic effects related to cancer etiology. His work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including Occupational Medicine, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, and the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. He has served as a peer reviewer for Environmental Health Perspectives and the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Wei Hu, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Wei Hu

Wei Hu, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in 2010. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, China in 2005. His doctoral thesis, "Interactive effects on respiratory health between outdoor air pollutants and other factors", studied the effect of particulate matter, SO2, and NOx pollution on respiratory symptoms in four Chinese cities. As a doctoral student, Dr. Hu also worked with investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles as a field team leader on a project that measured inhalation and dietary exposure to boron in workers from boric acid industries in Northeast China in order to study the effects of boric exposure on human reproductive health. After obtaining his Ph.D., he worked for the China National Environmental Monitoring Center in Beijing where he played a key role in the development of study instruments, training, and managing the OEEB hospital-based case-control study of lung cancer among non-smoking women in Xuan and Fuyuan and its exposure assessment component. As a postdoctoral fellow in OEEB, Dr. Hu is involved in several projects including a series of studies on lung cancer in China, the AsiaLymph study (a hospital-based case-control study of lymphoma in Asia), and molecular epidemiology studies of known or suspected occupational carcinogens, under the mentorship of Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Jooyeon Hwang, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Jooyeon Hwang, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in August 2013. Dr. Hwang received her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. For her doctoral research, she developed exposure metrics of elongated mineral fibers for a cohort of taconite miners in Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, which will be used in future epidemiologic analyses of mortality, cancer incidence, and silicosis. Working with Melissa Friesen, Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, Dr. Hwang is extending her training in methods for retrospectively assessing exposure for occupational risk factors to include exposure assessment for population-based studies and molecular epidemiologic studies.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2013.  She has a joint appointment with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.  Dr. Inoue-Choi received her M.S. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington in 2006 and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota in 2012.  After completing her doctoral degree, Dr. Inoue-Choi joined the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health of the University of Minnesota as a research associate. Working with her primary mentor, Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, Dr. Inoue-Choi is evaluating the extent to which chronic exposures to environmental toxicants from drinking water are associated with the risk of cancers, especially in rural and agricultural areas.  She is particularly interested in whether nutrients and environmental toxicant residues in food and water interact in the risk of cancer, and how diet can be used to mitigate the harmful effects of environmental toxicants.

Back to Top

Rena Jones, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Rena Jones, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2012, and was promoted to a Research Fellow in early 2014. Dr. Jones’ research focuses on environmental exposures and the application and validation of spatial-analytical approaches for epidemiologic studies. She received a B.S. in biology from the University of Massachusetts and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in epidemiology from the University at Albany, SUNY School of Public Health. Her doctoral work investigated the association between chemical constituents of ambient particulate matter and cardiovascular and respiratory morbidities, and evaluated the validity of spatial imputation methods for geography-based exposure assessment. While pursuing her graduate degrees, Dr. Jones worked as an epidemiologist at the New York State Department of Health and gained practical experience in conducting environmental and occupational research. She is currently involved in several OEEB projects and DCEG collaborations. Under the mentorship of OEEB senior investigator Mary Ward, Ph.D., she is conducting research on environmental exposures and cancer, continuing to focus her work on the improvement of methods for exposure assessment in epidemiologic studies, with a specific interest in ambient air pollution. Dr. Jones is a member of multiple professional societies, including the International Society of Exposure Science, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, the American College of Epidemiology, and is former President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research Student/Postdoctoral Committee. She is the recipient of a Sallie Rosen Kaplan fellowship and an NCI Director’s Career Development Innovation award.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Sara Karami, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Sara Karami

Sara Karami, Ph.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB), received her M.P.H. in 2003 in epidemiology and biostatistics and in 2009 completed her Ph.D. in epidemiology, both from George Washington University. For Dr. Karami’s dissertation she worked with her mentor, Lee Moore, Ph.D., M.P.H., to investigate the association between vitamin D exposure (via occupational sunlight, dietary intake and genetic variations in vitamin D pathway genes) and renal cancer risk among participants in the Central and European Renal Cell Carcinoma (CEERCC) study. Currently, Dr. Karami is working on replicating her dissertational results in the U.S. Renal Cell Carcinoma (USRCC) study. As a postdoctoral fellow in OEEB, Dr. Karami is continuing her studying of occupational, environmental, and genetic risk factors for different cancers, such as the bladder, kidney, and prostate. She is working with Mark Purdue, Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, on the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) cohort analysis of reproductive factors in relation to renal cancer and a USRCC analysis of occupational and industrial categories in relation to renal cancer risk. For another project, Dr. Karami is collaborating with, Michael C. R. Alavanja, Dr.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB, and Gabriella Andreotti, Ph.D., on the Agricultural Health Study, looking at gene-environment interaction in relation to prostate cancer, specifically to explore whether vitamin D pathway genes modify the association between pesticide exposure and prostate cancer risk. Dr. Karami is continuing to work with her primary mentor, Dr. Moore, on the USRCC and CEERCC studies analyzing occupational exposure in relation to renal cancer risk, analysis of gene-environment interactions to see if risk factors modify renal cancer risk, in order to replicate her dissertation results in the USRCC study population.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Christopher Kim, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

David Wheeler

Christopher Kim, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a predoctoral fellow in August 2011 and became a postdoctoral fellow in January 2013 after receiving his doctoral degree. Dr. Kim received his M.P.H. in epidemiology and environmental health from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in epidemiology and public health from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where he was trained under the Yale University-NCI Partnership Training Program in cancer epidemiology. His Yale University advisors were Drs. Yawei Zhang and Shuangge Ma. While at Yale, he published works on quality of life in testicular cancer survivors, gene-environment interactions and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk, and risk of second cancers in thyroid cancer patients. Under the mentorship of Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB, and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., senior investigator, OEEB, Dr. Kim is investigating cancers in Asian populations, interactions between molecular markers, genetic variation, and air toxins and their associations with lung cancer and non-Hodgkin’ lymphoma.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Stella Koutros, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Stella Koutros

Stella Koutros, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow, began her education with a B.A. from Tufts University with a focus in epidemiology and public health. She received her M.P.H. and Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University. As part of her doctoral studies, she participated in the Yale-NCI partnership training program in cancer epidemiology and conducted her dissertation research in OEEB. After receiving her doctorate in 2008, Dr. Koutros became a postdoctoral fellow in OEEB, where she is studying a variety of occupational, environmental, and genetic risk factors for cancer. She is involved in and leading several projects within the Agricultural Health Study (PI: Michael C. R. Alavanja, Dr.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB) under the mentorship of Laura Beane Freeman, Ph.D., investigator, OEEB. For example, she is looking for gene-environment interactions associated with prostate cancer as well as the impact of pesticide exposure on cancer risk. Dr. Koutros is also investigating genetic risk factors for prostate cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening trial and the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium. She is also conducting research on occupational and environmental risk factors for bladder cancer in the Spanish and New England bladder cancer case-control studies. Her experiences before coming to NCI were in various aspects of the public health field including two Yale/NCI grants for epidemiology training, and working at the Connecticut Tumor Registry focusing on cancer epidemiology. In 2008, she was awarded the American College of Epidemiology Student Prize for her work on "Aromatic amine pesticide use and human cancer risk: results from the U.S. Agricultural Health Study."

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Catherine Lerro, M.P.H. - Predoctoral Fellow

Catherine Lerro, M.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in August, 2013 as a predoctoral fellow within the Yale-NCI Cooperative Graduate Training Program in cancer epidemiology. Ms. Lerro received her B.A. her in public health studies from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and her M.P.H. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She was previously a summer fellow at NCI and wrote her master’s thesis under the mentorship of Michael B. Cook, Ph.D., investigator, HREB, and Katherine A. McGlynn, Ph.D., M.P.H., Deputy Chief of HREB. Ms. Lerro also spent two years working as an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia. She is now working with Laura Beane Freeman, Ph.D., Investigator, OEEB, to analyze pesticides and cancer risk in the Agricultural Health Study.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Linda Dong Liao, Ph.D. - Research Fellow

Linda Dong

Linda Dong Liao, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in March, 2011 as a Sallie Rosen Kaplan postdoctoral fellow. She has a long-standing interest in nutrition. Dr. Liao first merged her interests in nutrition and physical activity with the field of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley where she obtained her B.S. and M.P.H. In her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Washington, she evaluated the interplay between nutrition and genetics in relation to cancer risk: "Genetic variation in calcium and vitamin D related genes and colon cancer." She currently works with Dr. Wong-Ho Chow and Lee Moore, Ph.D., M.P.H., staff scientist, OEEB, evaluating genetic and lifestyle risk factors from two large case-control studies of renal cancer in the U.S. and Europe. She is also involved in studies of esophageal and gastric cancers within several consortia. She has received a DCEG Molecular Epidemiology Research Award and an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence. Dr. Liao has published in JAMA, Lancet Oncology, the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Nutrition and Cancer, and Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. She performs peer-review services for the journal Nutrition and Cancer and the International Journal of Cancer. Dr. Liao has membership in professional organizations such as the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Back to Top

Wei Jie Seow, M.D., Sc.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow

Wei Jie Seow, M.D., Sc.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2013. Dr. Seow received her doctorate in environmental molecular epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. Her dissertation research focused on the impact of reducing environmental exposure to arsenic, as well as genetic and epigenetic interactions, on the risk of precancerous arsenic-induced skin lesions in Bangladesh. Dr. Seow is conducting research in OEEB on the epidemiology of lung cancer in nonsmoking women in Asia; her primary mentors are Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB, and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., senior investigator, OEEB.

DCEG Publications (text and abstracts from our publications database)

Cuiju Wen, M.S. – Predoctoral Fellow

Cuiju Wen, M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a predoctoral fellow in October 2013. Ms. Wen received a B.S. in preventive medicine from Sun Yat-Sen University in China in 2002. She received her M.S. in occupational and environmental health from Southern Medical University in China in 2010 and is currently working on her doctoral degree. Ms. Wen is working with Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator, OEEB, and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., senior investigator, OEEB, on a study of peripheral blood cell biomarkers in a population of workers exposed to benzene in the petroleum industry in Guangdong, China.

Back to Top

Learn about research training opportunities in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch.