Julie Palmer

Senior Epidemiologist, Slone Epidemiology Center
Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health

Expertise:
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Education:

B.A., Brown University
M.P.H., Boston University
Sc.D., Harvard University

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Dr. Palmer’s major research interest is the etiology of breast cancer in African American women. She was instrumental in designing and implementing the Black Women’s Health Study and has served as co-investigator of the study since its inception in 1995.  Dr. Palmer is director of genetics research in the Black Women’s Health Study and has… Read more

Dr. Palmer’s major research interest is the etiology of breast cancer in African American women. She was instrumental in designing and implementing the Black Women’s Health Study and has served as co-investigator of the study since its inception in 1995.  Dr. Palmer is director of genetics research in the Black Women’s Health Study and has spearheaded efforts to use DNA from study participants in studies of the genetics of breast cancer, lupus, uterine fibroids, and sarcoidosis.

Dr. Palmer’s current research is directed at understanding the etiology of specific subtypes of breast cancer, in particular, estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer, the subtype that carries the worst prognosis and disproportionately affects women of African ancestry.  She is Multiple-PI of a collaborative Program Project which combines data and samples from four epidemiologic studies of breast cancer in African American women for identification of genetic and nongenetic factors related to specific breast cancer subtypes. Dr. Palmer’s work focuses on the relation of parity and lactation to risk of specific subtypes, and the interaction of these exposures with genetic variants in pathways related to hormone metabolism and inflammation

As PI of the Boston University arm of the NCI follow-up study of DES-exposed persons, Dr. Palmer has conducted research related to the possible effects of prenatal DES exposure on incidence of breast cancer.

In the Media

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  • African-American women with type 2 diabetes may have higher risk for ER-neg breast cancer

    November 15, 2017

    Medical XPress Julie Palmer Among African-American women, those with type 2 diabetes may have a higher risk of developing estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer… Expert quote: “We are still trying to understand the basic biological processes that lead to ER-negative breast cancer. One way to do this is to study factors that are more common […]

  • Breast cancer: How to predict risk for African Americans

    February 3, 2015

    Futurity News Julie Palmer, School of Public Health, Slone Epidemiology Center A new way to predict breast cancer risk may lead to more African-American women taking part in breast cancer prevention trials. Expert quote: “The model was well calibrated in that it predicted 486 cases in comparison to an observed 506 cases during the additional […]

  • Women shortchanged in studies

    March 3, 2014

    Boston Herald Julie Palmer, School of Public Health, Slone Epidemiology Center A critical new report from Boston researchers chides the federal government and research community for routinely overlooking the importance of gender differences in medical studies — ultimately leaving women’s health to chance… Expert quote: “At every level of research … women have been under-represented.” […]

  • Thousands of women could be at risk from ‘silent Thalidomide’

    January 21, 2012

    The Independent Julie Palmer, School of Public Health Tens of thousands of British families are to be asked if they are victims of a drug given to pregnant women which can cause fatal illness in the second, and possibly even third, generations… View article

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