Current Fellows in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch
Meet the current fellows in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch and learn about OEEB research training opportunities.
Joshua Daniel Arias, M.S. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Joshua Daniel Arias, M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postbaccalaureate fellow in June 2019. Mr. Arias earned his M.S. in biological sciences from California State University, Long Beach. Working with Dr. Amanda E. Fisher, his master’s thesis research focused on elucidating the phylogeny of Acanthaceae, a tropical plant family, using bioinformatic assays that combined RNA- and DNA-seq data. Mr. Arias is working with Sonja Berndt, Pharm.D., Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, to perform Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to further explore the genetic architecture and underpinnings of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Charles Breeze, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow
Charles Breeze, Ph.D., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in March 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Breeze received his Ph.D. in computational epigenetics and genomics from University College London, where he was an EU Marie Curie predoctoral fellow. He has worked for other leading institutions including the University of Oxford, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Seattle, where he led integrative analysis and generation of reference mouse ENCODE data. Dr. Breeze has developed several bioinformatics software tools including eFORGE and FORGE2 for the analysis of EWAS and GWAS data, respectively. In OEEB, he will be working with Sonja Berndt, Pharm.D., Ph.D., senior investigator, and focusing on genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS).
Ian Buller, Ph.D., M.A. – Postdoctoral Fellow
Ian Buller, Ph.D., M.A., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow in September 2019. Dr. Buller earned a concurrent B.A./M.A. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013 and a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2019. His dissertation work focused on the spatial epidemiology of Yersinia pestis in the United States. Dr. Buller’s research interests include spatial analysis and the assessment of exposure to environmental carcinogens. In OEEB, Dr. Buller works with Rena Jones, Ph.D., M.S., investigator, and Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, to characterize spatial patterns in environmental risk factors and to evaluate their role in cancer etiology.
Nicole Gonzalez, M.S. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Nicole Gonzalez, M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postbaccalaureate fellow through NCI's Introduction to Cancer Research Careers (ICRC) program in July 2020. She earned her Master of Science degree in epidemiology from The George Washington University's Milken Institute of Public Health, where her thesis research was focused on healthcare utilization trends among cancer survivors. While pursuing joint degrees in mathematics and biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, she also worked at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on epidemiologic studies of ovarian cancer risk. In DCEG, Ms. Gonzalez is working with Stella Koutros, Ph.D, M.P.H., investigator, OEEB, evaluating the relationship between occupational and environmental exposures and bladder tumor characteristics and etiologic heterogeneity in bladder cancer.
Catherine Lerro, Ph.D., M.P.H. - Research Fellow
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, and was promoted to research fellow in December 2018. 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 currently working with Laura Beane Freeman, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, examining agricultural exposures and cancer risk in men and women.
Jessica Madrigal, Ph.D., M.S. – Postdoctoral Fellow
Jessica Madrigal, Ph.D., M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in March 2020. Dr. Madrigal received her Ph.D. in environmental and occupational epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) predoctoral fellow. Her dissertation research focused on the relationships between persistent organic pollutant exposures, endogenous pituitary, sex steroid, and thyroid hormones, and renal endpoints among Hispanic and Latino adults. During her academic training, Dr. Madrigal’s work focused on chronic disease prevention and health disparities, and she has collaborated on studies to evaluate the associations between heavy metal exposures and pulmonary function among children, in addition to descriptive studies aimed to reduce health disparities among women. In OEEB, Dr. Madrigal works with Rena Jones, Ph.D., M.S., investigator, and Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, on studies using geographic information systems (GIS) for environmental exposure assessment and to identify determinants of environmental exposures that are related to cancers, and cancer risk, in adults and children.
Cherrel K. Manley, M.S.P.H. – Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Cherrel Manley, M.S.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postbaccalaureate fellow within the Intramural Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (iCURE) program in August 2020. Ms. Manley earned her M.S.P.H in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020. Working with Drs. Stephanie and Lawrence Engel, her master’s research focused on prenatal exposure to organophosphorus pesticides and preschool ADHD in the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort. Ms. Manley’s research interests include environmental and occupational exposures, as well as disparities in exposures and cancer-related health outcomes. As an iCURE Scholar, she is working with Mary Ward, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB and Rena Jones, Ph.D., investigator, OEEB, to investigate residential and drinking water exposures and cancer risk in the Agricultural Health Study.
Jongeun Rhee, Sc.D., M.S. – Postdoctoral Fellow
Jongeun Rhee, Sc.D., M.S., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in September 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Rhee completed her Sc.D. in environmental health with a concentration of environmental, occupational, and molecular epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA. 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 received her M.S. in environmental health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her B.S. in environmental health and life sciences from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. In OEEB, Dr. Rhee will be working with Mark Purdue, Ph.D., senior investigator, on projects investigating cancer risks associated with environmental exposures to radon, solvents, and other agents, as well as molecular epidemiologic studies of kidney cancer etiology.
Jason Wong, Sc.D. - Research Fellow
Jason Wong, Sc.D., S.M., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) in October 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow and is currently a research 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 – Harvard Medical School. 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 is investigating environmental, occupational, and molecular factors related to risk of cancers in various Asian and Western 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 lung cancer.
Shuai Xie, Ph.D., M.P.H. – Postdoctoral Fellow
Shuai Xie, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow in September 2020. Dr. Xie earned her Ph.D. in chemical and environmental engineering from Brown University in 2020. For her doctoral research, she focused on investigating factors related to vapor intrusion of trichloroethylene in indoor environments. In May 2020, Dr. Xie earned her M.P.H. from Brown University. Dr. Xie is working with Melissa Friesen, Ph.D., senior investigator, OEEB, to develop and evaluate occupational and environmental exposure assessment methods, including validating an algorithm to estimate non-occupational pesticide exposure developed for the spouses in the Agricultural Health Study.