Brenda M. Birmann, ScD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Instructor in Medicine, Medicine, Brigham And Women's Hospital
DF/HCC Program AffiliationLymphoma and MyelomaCancer Epidemiology
My research focuses on the epidemiology of hematopoietic malignancies, on oncogenic virus infections, and on the assessment of immune dysfunction for epidemiologic studies. My primary active research project is a prospective evaluation of lifestyle correlates of energy balance (including body mass index and physical activity levels), and of plasma and genetic markers of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and interleukin (IL)-6 dysregulation, in the etiology of multiple myeloma (MM). This study is a collaboration across nine large prospective cohorts, including the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study at the Channing Laboratory (Department of Medicine, Brigham and Womenís Hospital and Harvard Medical School). I am also a Co-Investigator on a collaborative multi-center study of genetic risk factors for MM that comprises Project 6 of the recently renewed Dana-Farber/Havard Cancer Center Multiple Myeloma SPORE. We will examine polymorphisms in several genes related to IGF-I and IL-6 signaling as well as other cytokine genes and genes related to DNA repair, cell cycle control, and metabolism. In addition, I am involved in a case-control study of the role of the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in the etiology of Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), for which I am conducting analyses of dietary associations with HL, and of the relation of cytokine signaling gene polymorphisms and risk of HL. Lastly, I am involved in an international, multi-center study of plasma markers of immune dysregulation and risk of adult T-cell lymphoma among carriers of human T-lymphotropic virus type-I. I am presently Chair of the Coordinating Committee of the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium (IMMC) and the IMMC representative to the Coordinating Committee of the InterLymph Consortium, as well as a Member of the Immunology and HL working groups of InterLymph, and of the newly-initiated Lymphoma Working Group within the NCIís Cohort Consortium. In the latter capacities I participate in the development of new international multi-center collaborative research projects on the etiology of lymphoma and MM.
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