- About the Study
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Meet Our Team
- New York: Columbia University Medical Center
- Ontario: Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mt. Sinai Hospital
- Philadelphia: Fox Chase Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- San Francisco Bay Area: Cancer Prevention Institute of California
- Utah: Huntsman Cancer Institute
- Legacy Girls Visits
- Personal Experiences
- For Girls
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New York: Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Mary Beth Terry, Principal Investigator
Dr. Terry received her
Dr. Terry focuses her research on breast cancer and on the molecular epidemiology and lifecourse methods of the disease, in particular she is investigating how adult health and diseases such as breast cancer may be influenced by prenatal and early life exposures. She recently reported that prenatal exposures affect the timing of menarche, adult body size, and epigenetic changes - all indicators of future cancer risk. Dr. Terry teaches introductory and advanced epidemiologic methods at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
Dr. Wendy Chung, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Chung received her
Dr. Chung focuses her research on the genetic basis of human diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, congenital heart disease, congenital diaphragmatic hernias, cardiomyopathies, and spinal muscular atrophy. She is the Director of the Pediatric Neuromuscular Network Molecular Core, the New York Obesity Center Molecular Genetics Core and the Diabetes and Endocrine Research Center Molecular Genetics Core. She is also the Director of the Clinical Genetics Program, Clinical Cancer Genetics program, and Director of the fellowship program in Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics, and supervises medical education in human genetics for Columbia University Medical School.
Dr. Regina Santella, Co-Investigator
Dr. Santella received her
Dr. Santella's research involves the development of laboratory methods for the detection of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens and their use in molecular epidemiology studies to identify causative factors, susceptible populations, and preventive interventions. Her work has allowed the determination of exposure to carcinogens by the measurement of their binding to DNA with highly specific and sensitive immunoassays using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that her laboratory has developed. These studies have demonstrated higher levels of DNA damage in those with environmental or occupational exposures and in subjects with breast, lung, and liver cancer compared to controls. In addition, the interaction between environmental exposures and genetic susceptibility on cancer risk is being investigated using high throughput genotyping to determine polymorphisms in carcinogen metabolism, oxidative stress, and DNA repair genes.
Ann Johnston Cloud, MPH, Project Director
Ann received her Master’s of Public Health degree from Columbia University in 2010, with a focus on cancer epidemiology and her Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She has spent the last three years working with Dr. Terry on the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR). She will continue serving as the Project Director for the BCFR and has begun serving as Project Director for The LEGACY Girls Study this year. Previous to her work at Columbia University, Ann was based in Atlanta and worked for Emory University School of Medicine at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She was involved with clinical neuroimaging trials and neuropsychological testing of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia.
Ann’s research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of national cancer prevention guidelines among women with a family history of breast cancer, DNA methylation of genetic promoter regions, and the methodology of family-based data collection. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two dogs, one beagle and one shepard mutt. Ann’s interests include cooking, biking, walking her dogs and traveling whenever possible.
Melissa White, MSSW, Project Coordinator
Melissa received her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2002, with a focus on policy analysis, in addition to clinical training. Working in public health and social science research since 2001, she has coordinated studies of domestic violence risk assessment, sexual assault revictimization, and the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, and she served as scientific coordinator of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Prior to engaging in research, Melissa worked in organizations and programs serving women, people of color, immigrants and refugees, youth, adoptees, cancer survivors, people living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of violence, and bereaved individuals. She is currently Project Coordinator of the LEGACY Girls Study and is also a staff therapist at a psychotherapy institute in Manhattan.
Melissa’s professional and research interests include health and mental health, trauma and resilience, the psychosocial impacts of breast cancer on women and families, and cancer disclosure in families. She is also interested in social justice, individual and collective agency, identity, narrative, and community. She has two cats and enjoys taking classes, hiking, traveling, and attending music and dance performances.
Natalie Engmann, MSc, Research Associate
Natalie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Emory University, and her Masters of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2012, with a focus on Reproductive Health Research. Her Masters thesis evaluated the use of digital, volumetric measures of mammographic density, a well-known risk factor for breast cancer. After completing her Masters degree, Natalie joined Dr. Terry’s team at the New York site, and is involved with the LEGACY Study as well as several other of Dr. Terry’s studies focusing on mammographic density and breast cancer.
Prior to graduate school, Natalie worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was involved in a large interagency effort to develop and expand clinical and research capacity Sub-Saharan Africa. Natalie’s research interests include mammographic density and influence of early life exposures on overall breast cancer risk, and the epidemiology of breast cancer in Africa. She lives in Manhattan with her fiancée and their beagle, and enjoys running, walking her dog in Central Park, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen!
Dr. Jasmine McDonald, Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. McDonald received her PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health in 2009 from Harvard University. Prior to her doctoral program, she received her B.S. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2003), where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia Unviersity continuing her training in breast cancer prevention.
Dr. McDonald has postdoctoral training in examining modifiable factors for breast cancer prevention in high breast cancer risk populations. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. McDonald joined the University of Pennsylvania where she examined sociobehavioral issues related to genomic medicine among populations at high cancer risk. As a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia, Dr. McDonald continues to investigate modifiable behaviors for breast cancer prevention in high risk populations, but with a focus on epidemiological methodology. Her research examines the role of modifiable factors (i.e., alcohol) on mammographic breast density, an intermediate marker of breast cancer. Dr. McDonald has had the privilege of working with the LEGACY Girls Study since 2011. She lives in New York with her cat and enjoys dancing, making soup, and being with family.