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Yawei Zhang MD, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health)

Research Interests

Cancer epidemiology; Etiology; Survivorship; Adverse birth outcomes; Genomics

Current Projects

1. A population-based case-control study of thyroid cancer;

2. PHAHs and risk of thyroid cancer in DoDSR cohort;

3. Ambient and household air pollution and adverse birth outcomes in Lanzhou, China;

4. Etiology and prognosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma;

5. Robust rank-based methods and detection of GXE in cancer etiology and survival

6. Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN)

7. Research Training for Cancer Epidemiology and Biostatistics in China


Research Summary

Dr. Zhang's research interests focus on two areas:

  1. Etiology and prognosis of adult malignancies
  2. Risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes

In particular, she has been studying various environmental exposures, lifestyle factors and gene-environment interaction in the etiology and prognosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She has been pioneering the causes of increasing trends of thyroid cancer observed worldwide. Specifically, she is conducting a population-based case-control study in Connecticut to investigate radiation exposure, DNA repair capacity and risk of thyroid cancer, as well as a nested case-control study in the Department of Defense Serum Repository Cohort to examine flame retardants (PBDEs) and other polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons in relation to thyroid cancer. She has also been studying environment factors and gene-environment interactions for multiple myeloma and cancers of the testes, pancreas, lung, liver, and bladder.

Dr. Zhang became interested in adverse pregnancy outcomes because the fetal origin hypothesis suggests that growth and developmental delays in utero may influence not only childhood mortality and morbidity but also the risk of diseases in adulthood including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Dr. Zhang is currently establishing a birth cohort study in Lanzhou, China to investigate ambient and household air pollution and adverse birth outcomes. The birth cohort study has also collected information on various exposures (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, occupation, residential history, medical conditions and medication use, diet, etc) and biospecimen (maternal and cord blood), which allows to comprehensively explore and identify risk factors for adverse birth outcomes and maternal complications.


Selected Publications

  • Kim C, Bi X, Pan D, Chen Y, Carling T, Ma S, Udelsman R, Zhang Y. Risk of secondary cancer after diagnosis of thyroid cancer primary is elevated in microcarcinomas. Thyroid 2013 23(5): 575-82. PMID: 23237308
  • Dai L, Deng C, Li Y, Zhu J, Mu Y, Deng Y, Mao M, Wang Y, Li Q, Ma S, Ma X, Zhang Y. Birth weight reference percentiles for Chinese. PLoS One 2014 Aug 15: 9(8): e104779. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104779. 2014. PMID: 25127131.
  • Aschebrook-Kilfoy B, Cocco P, La Vecchia C, Chang E, Vajdic C, Kadin M, Spinelli J, Morton L, Kane E, Sampson J, Slager S, Kasten C, Feldman A, Wang S, Zhang Y. Medical History, Lifestyle, Family History, and Occupational Risk Factors for Mycosis Fungoides and Sezary Syndrome: The Interlymph NHL Subtypes Project J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 2014;48:98-105
  • Qiu J, He X, Cui H, Zhang C, Zhang H, Dang Y, Han X, Chen Y, Tang Z, Zhang H, Bai H, Xu R, Zhu D, Lin X, Lv L, Xu X, Lin R, Yao T, Su J, Liu X, Wang W, Wang Y, Ma B, Liu S, Huang H, Lerro C, Zhao N, Liang J, Ma S, Ehrenkranz R, Liu Q, Zhang Y. Passive smoking and preterm birth in urban China. Am J Epidemiol 2014. 180(1): 94-102 PMID: 24838804
  • Udelsman R, Zhang Y. The epidemic of thyroid cancer in the United States: the role of endocrinologists and ultrasounds. Thyroid 2014 24(3): 472-9. PMID: 23937391
  • Zhang Y, Lan Q, Rothman N, Zhu Y, Holford T, Leaderer B, Boyle P, Zahm SH, Wang S, Zhang B, Zou K, Chanock S, Zheng T. A putative exonic splicing polymorphism in the BCL6 gene and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2005 97(21):1616-8. PMID: 16264183
  • Zhang Y, De Sanjose S, Bracci PM, Morton LM, Wang R. Brennan P, Hartge P, Boffetta P, Becker N, Maynadie M, Foretova L, Cocco P, Staines A, Holford T, Holly EA, Nieters A, Benavente Y, Bernstein L, Zahm SH, Zheng T. Personal hair dye use may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 167(11):1321-31 PMID: 18408225

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