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Brenda M. Birmann, ScD

Research Areas: epidemiology; hematologic cancer; cancer etiology; multiple myeloma; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus; HTLV-I; oncogenic infections; immune dysregulation; anthropometric traits

I am a cancer epidemiologist with a primary research focus on the etiology of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My active studies are based in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohorts and include examinations of both environment- and lifestyle-related and biomarker-characterized risk factors. To date, we have evaluated body mass index and other anthropometric measures, physical activity, aspirin use, hair dye use, rotating shift work, dietary pattern, as well as genetic and/or serologic biomarkers of immune, growth factor, or adipokine dysregulation or inflammation and risk of these cancers in local studies and in collaboration with external cohorts. I currently co-lead a large pooled study of time-varying non-genetic risk factors for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and common histologic and tissue molecular subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in our local cohorts and four external cohorts. I also lead an even larger collaboration of eight cohorts focused on geospatially estimated ambient exposure to certain environmental pollutants in relation to risk of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Additionally, I have led or collaborated on numerous studies in large international consortia, where I have also held co-founding and/or other leadership roles: the International Lymphoma Epidemiology (InterLymph) Consortium, the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium (now the Myeloma Working Group of InterLymph) and the Lymphoid Malignancies Working Group of the National Cancer Institute Cohort Consortium. I also represent the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the InterLymph genome-wide association study of lymphoid malignancies.

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