Meet the current fellows in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch and learn about research training opportunities.
Bryan Bassig, Ph.D., 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. . He became a postdoctoral fellow in June 2015 and was promoted to Research Fellow in June 2016. Dr. Bassig received his M.P.H. degree in chronic disease epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health in 2010, and his Ph.D. in environmental cancer epidemiology from Yale University in 2015. His dissertation research focused on evaluating the etiology of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in East Asia using data from prospective cohort and case-control studies, with an emphasis on benzene exposure and susceptibility and intermediate endpoint biomarkers. Dr. Bassig is currently 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, to investigate the molecular epidemiology of lymphohematopoietic malignancies in Asia and the biologic and resulting health effects associated with a wide range of environmental and occupational exposures, including trichloroethylene, benzene, diesel engine exhaust, and other air particulates. Prior to joining OEEB, Dr. Bassig held research positions at the Yale School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Department of Health.
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.
Yufei Dai, Ph.D., M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a visiting fellow in December 2014. Dr. Dai received her Ph.D. in toxicology from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China in 2005 and an M.S. in biochemistry from the Jilin University, China in 1997. Dr. Dai is a professor in the Institute of Occupational Health and Poison Control, China CDC. Her research is focused on the harmful effects of environmental and occupational chemicals, particularly on the immunological biomarkers and pathogenesis of hypersensitivity dermatitis induced by occupational exposure to trichloroethylene. Dr. Dai is conducting research in OEEB on the molecular epidemiology study of workers exposed to diesel exhaust and carbon black in China. Her primary mentors are Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., both senior investigators, OEEB.
Pamela Dopart, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2015. Dr. Dopart received her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her doctoral dissertation work focused on improving methods of estimating occupational exposures through the use of a multiple imputation technique to account for missing ionizing radiation exposure data in a cohort of naval shipyard workers. Dr. Dopart also has an M.P.H. in industrial hygiene from the University of Michigan and work experience as a health scientist for a risk assessment firm. In OEEB, Dr. Dopart is working with Melissa Friesen, Ph.D., investigator, to continue to improve methods for assessing environmental and occupational exposures in epidemiologic studies of cancer, with a focus on the use of decision rule- and measurement-based approaches in case-control studies.
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 dissertation investigated health risks associated with ambient outdoor particulate matter and the validity of spatial imputation methods for GIS-based exposure assessment. She is currently involved in several OEEB projects and DCEG collaborations. Under the mentorship of OEEB senior investigator Dr.Mary Ward, and the direction of OEEB investigator Dr. Laura Beane Freeman, she is conducting research on multiple environmental exposures and cancer risk. Working with OEEB Chief Dr. Debra Silverman, Dr. Jones is also co-principal investigator of a study of outdoor particulate air pollution and lung cancer risk. She is a member of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, the International Society of Exposure Science, and the American College of Epidemiology, and is past President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research Student and Postdoctoral Committee. She is the recipient of an NCI Sallie Rosen Kaplan fellowship, an NCI Director’s Career Development Innovation award, and the DCEG Fellows Award for Research Excellence.
Catherine Lerro, Ph.D., 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. She became a postdoctoral fellow in December 2015, after successfully defending her dissertation. Dr. Lerro received her B.A. in public health studies from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, her M.P.H. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and her Ph.D. in environmental epidemiology from Yale. She was previously a summer fellow at NCI and wrote her master’s thesis under the mentorship of Michael B. Cook, Ph.D., and Katherine A. McGlynn, Ph.D., M.P.H. Dr. Lerro also spent two years working as an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia. She is working with Laura Beane Freeman, Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, examining agricultural exposures and cancer risk in men and women.Melissa Friesen, Ph.D., investigator, and Laura Beane Freeman, Ph.D., investigator, on studies of pesticide exposure determinants and cancer epidemiology related to pesticide exposure.
Amy Moore, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in January 2015. Dr. Moore received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2014. Working with Dr. Daniel A. Enquobahrie, her dissertation was a candidate single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) study of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in young adults of the Jerusalem Perinatal Study. During her predoctoral studies, she was a fellow in Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology where she studied genetic and epigenetic risk factors for a variety of outcomes and became interested in the developmental origins of health and disease. Dr. Moore’s research interests include genetic epidemiology, epigenetics, and the developmental origins of chronic diseases. Under the direction of Sonja Berndt, Pharm.D., Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, Dr. Moore examines genetic risk factors for prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and obesity, including the role of mitochondrial DNA copy number in prostate cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Screening Trial.
Wei Jie Seow, M.S., 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.
Jason Wong, Sc.D, joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in October 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Wong obtained his bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology from Simon Fraser University and his dual-doctorate in epidemiology and environmental health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For his doctoral dissertation research, he examined the detrimental effects of fine particulate matter on telomere length, DNA methylation, and inflammation. Prior to joining OEEB, Dr. Wong completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine where he examined the chronic health effects of secondhand smoke. Dr. Wong also has extensive experience in molecular biology honed from nearly a decade as a laboratory manager at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Wong previously characterized genetic variants related to risk of Endometrial Cancer in the Nurses’ Health Study, and he is best known for developing a high-throughput assay to measure telomere length. In DCEG, Dr. Wong will investigate environmental, occupational, and molecular factors related to risk of cancers in various Asian cohorts. He is working under the mentorship of Qing Lan, M.D., Ph.D., and Nathaniel Rothman, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., senior investigators in OEEB, to uncover the etiologic underpinnings of cancer risk.
Learn about research training opportunities in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch.