- 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
- For Researchers
- Contact Us
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.
Dr. Jasmine McDonald, Co-Investigator
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 an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia Unviersity.
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's work focused on modifiable behaviors for breast cancer prevention in high risk populations with a focus on epidemiological methodology. Her research to date 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.
Dr. Lauren Houghton, Co-Investigator
Dr. Houghton received her PhD in Anthropology in 2013 from Durham University (United Kingdom) and has trained in Epidemiology for the last 7 years. She is currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University.
Dr. Houghton has worked internationally to better understand both the biological and cultural experience of adolescence in populations with different breast cancer risk. She is also interested in migration and has extensively worked with migrant studies to better understand how lifestyles change when women move from low to high risk geographic areas. While conducting fieldwork in England and Bangladesh, she closely engaged with Bangladeshi migrant girls through afterschool clubs to study growing up from the girls’ perspectives. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Houghton was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute where she investigated lifestyle and hormonal factors driving international differences in breast cancer incidence. Dr. Houghton is excited to now work with the talented team and wonderful families of the LEGACY Girls Study. She lives in New York with her chef husband and enjoys eating his delicious food, then dancing off the calories.
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.
Mandy Goldberg, MPH, Project Coordinator
Mandy is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, with a focus in cancer and life course epidemiology. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, and her Master of Public Health from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she completed her thesis on the relationship between socioeconomic position and breast cancer incidence and survival among Israeli women. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Mandy worked as a health educator and clinical research assistant with the IMPACT DC Asthma Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Mandy’s research interests include social determinants of health and the influence of prenatal and early life exposures on development and breast cancer risk. In her free time, Mandy enjoys exploring New York City, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.