Julie R. Palmer, ScD

Professor, Epidemiology
Julie Palmer
(617) 734-6006jpalmer@bu.edu


Dr. Palmer is a cancer epidemiologist based at the Slone Epidemiology Center, with research projects spanning cancer early detection, etiology, and survivorship. Her primary focus is on elucidating reasons for the disproportionately high incidence of hormone receptor negative breast cancer in African American women and on understanding and reducing racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. She is a founding leader of the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a prospective cohort study of 59,000 African American women who enrolled in 1995 and have been followed by biennial questionnaire since that time. Her breast cancer research within the BWHS includes work on risk prediction models for breast cancer in African American women, identifying differences in childbearing patterns as a contributing cause to the excess incidence of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer in African American women, and investigating the interrelationships of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and inflammation on breast cancer risk. Her current grants support work on somatic mutations, epigenetics, and gene expressions profiles in breast cancer tumors from African American women, setting the stage for a better understanding of the role of epidemiologic and genetic factors in etiology and prognosis. Dr. Palmer has served on many NIH and external advisory committees, including as Chair of the NIH Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Sleep Epidemiology Study Section, 2015-2017, and Co-Chair of a Working Group for the National Cancer Advisory Board, NCI, 2018-2019.

Other Positions

  • Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Professor, Hematology & Medical Oncology, Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Director, Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Co-Director, BU-BMC Cancer Center, Boston University
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University


  • Harvard University, ScD
  • Boston University, MPH
  • Boston University, BS
  • Brown University, BA


  • Published on 10/6/2020

    Sheehy S, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. High Consumption of Red Meat Is Associated with Excess Mortality Among African-American Women. J Nutr. 2020 Oct 06. PMID: 33024986.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/22/2020

    Nichols HB, Graff M, Bensen JT, Lunetta KL, O'Brien KM, Troester MA, Williams LA, Young K, Hong CC, Yao S, Haiman CA, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Ambrosone CB, Palmer JR, Olshan AF. Genetic variants in anti-Müllerian hormone-related genes and breast cancer risk: results from the AMBER consortium. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2020 Sep 22. PMID: 32960377.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/9/2020

    Zavala VA, Bracci PM, Carethers JM, Carvajal-Carmona L, Coggins NB, Cruz-Correa MR, Davis M, de Smith AJ, Dutil J, Figueiredo JC, Fox R, Graves KD, Gomez SL, Llera A, Neuhausen SL, Newman L, Nguyen T, Palmer JR, Palmer NR, Pérez-Stable EJ, Piawah S, Rodriquez EJ, Sanabria-Salas MC, Schmit SL, Serrano-Gomez SJ, Stern MC, Weitzel J, Yang JJ, Zabaleta J, Ziv E, Fejerman L. Cancer health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Br J Cancer. 2020 Sep 09. PMID: 32901135.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/4/2020

    Bertrand KA, Bethea TN, Gerlovin H, Coogan PF, Barber L, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Aspirin use and risk of breast cancer in African American women. Breast Cancer Res. 2020 Sep 04; 22(1):96. PMID: 32887656.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/2/2020

    Sheehy S, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Leisure Time Physical Activity in Relation to Mortality Among African American Women. Am J Prev Med. 2020 Sep 02. PMID: 32891468.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2020

    Rosenberg L, Robles YP, Li S, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Palmer JR. A prospective study of yogurt and other dairy consumption in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes among black women in the USA. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 09 01; 112(3):512-518. PMID: 32520324.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2020

    Petrick JL, Florio AA, Zhang X, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Wactawski-Wende J, Van Den Eeden SK, Stanczyk FZ, Simon TG, Sinha R, Sesso HD, Schairer C, Rosenberg L, Rohan TE, Purdue MP, Palmer JR, Linet MS, Liao LM, Lee IM, Koshiol J, Kitahara CM, Kirsh VA, Hofmann JN, Guillemette C, Graubard BI, Giovannucci E, Gaziano JM, Gapster SM, Freedman ND, Engel LS, Chong DQ, Chen Y, Chan AT, Caron P, Buring JE, Bradwin G, Beane Freeman LE, Campbell PT, McGlynn KA. Associations Between Prediagnostic Concentrations of Circulating Sex Steroid Hormones and Liver Cancer Among Postmenopausal Women. Hepatology. 2020 Aug; 72(2):535-547. PMID: 31808181.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/1/2020

    Petrick JL, Castro-Webb N, Gerlovin H, Bethea TN, Li S, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. A Prospective Analysis of Intake of Red and Processed Meat in Relation to Pancreatic Cancer among African American Women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Sep; 29(9):1775-1783. PMID: 32611583.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/29/2020

    Sponholtz TR, Bethea TN, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Boynton-Jarrett R, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L, Wise LA. Night Shift Work and Fecundability in Late Reproductive-Aged African American Women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 Jun 29. PMID: 32598212.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/2020

    Palmer JR. Polygenic Risk Scores for Breast Cancer Risk Prediction: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2020 Jun 01; 112(6):555-556. PMID: 31553456.

    Read at: PubMed

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