Jonine Figueroa Appointed Senior Investigator in Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch
, by Julian Cantella
Jonine Figueroa, Ph.D., M.P.H., has rejoined DCEG as a tenured, senior investigator in the Integrative Tumor Epidemiology Branch (ITEB). In her current tenure with DCEG, she plans to research risk factors associated with breast cancer incidence and mortality in diverse populations. She is the first researcher selected through the DCEG pilot of the Multi-Principal Investigator Search (MPIS), and she has also been selected for the NIH Distinguished Scholars Program.
Dr. Figueroa is an internationally recognized expert in breast cancer epidemiology. As a leader of integrative molecular epidemiologic research with a focus on global health, she has over 225 high-impact, peer-reviewed articles. At DCEG, she was co-Principal Investigator of the Ghana Breast Health Study, leading the field work, mentoring international colleagues, and building capacity for biospecimen collection to conduct molecular epidemiology studies in low-resource settings. The landmark study is identifying risk factors for different subtypes of breast cancer and will help inform public health strategies for prevention in Africa.
To improve outcomes and address cancer inequities, Dr. Figueroa works to address the interplay of biological, environmental, and socioeconomic determinants in cancer epidemiology studies. In Scotland, she investigated whether inequities exist in breast cancer incidence and survival, based on a deprivation index that integrated socioeconomic measures including income, healthcare access, crime, and education. This research showed that incidence of screen-detected, hormone-driven breast cancers was lower in groups with lower socioeconomic status than those with higher socioeconomic status. She also showed that deprivation had different magnitudes of association with survival depending on the molecular subtype of breast cancer.
Dr. Figueroa received a B.S. in Genetics and Developmental Biology from Penn State University, a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology from Stony Brook University, and an M.P.H. from Columbia University. Most recently, Dr. Figueroa was tenured Professor and Chair of Molecular Epidemiology and Global Cancer Prevention at the University of Edinburgh, U.K., where she is currently Honorary Fellow. She previously came to DCEG as an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow and was promoted to a tenure-track investigator position before leaving for the United Kingdom.