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Jongeun Rhee, Sc.D., M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in September 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow, and was promoted to a research fellow in June 2021. Dr. Rhee completed her Sc.D. in environmental health with a concentration in environmental, occupational, and molecular epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. For her dissertation research, she investigated associations between air pollution, industry, and socioeconomic status and acute respiratory distress syndrome among older adults in the United States. Dr. Rhee also has a longstanding interest in health disparities research and has led investigations on how prenatal air pollution and homelessness during pregnancy are associated with birthweight in a low-income multi-ethnic community.

In OEEB, Dr. Rhee is working on projects investigating cancer risks associated with diverse environmental exposures, particularly persistent organic pollutants and air pollution, as well as molecular epidemiologic studies of kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma etiology, under the mentorship of Mark Purdue, Ph.D., senior investigator. One of Dr. Rhee’s primary research topics is to investigate the etiologic relationship of exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and cancer risk. She has led and published findings related to cancers of prostate, breast, and kidney and as well as a metabolomic investigation of PFAS. Dr. Rhee has been awarded the NCI Director’s Intramural Innovation Award and co-received the NIH Pamela Anne Cafritz Renal Cell Carcinoma Award with Jonathan Hofmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator in OEEB to support the PFAS research.   

Dr. Rhee is a co-founder and co-chair of the DCEG Fellows’ Cancer Health Disparities Interest Group and a member of the DCEG Cancer Health Disparities Working Group.

With her passion in cancer health equity, Dr. Rhee co-received the DCEG Cancer Health Disparities Research Award to investigate differences in clear cell renal cell carcinoma tumor DNA methylation between African American and White patients with Charles Breeze, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in OEEB. Dr. Rhee also received DCEG Intramural Research Awards to study early-life residential exposure to tetrachloroethylene and risks of childhood cancers.