Melinda Liggett Irwin PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)

Research Interests

Energy balance; Cancer prevention and prognosis


Research Summary

Professor Irwin's primary research interests are in the areas of energy balance and cancer prevention and prognosis. She is trained in cancer epidemiology, exercise physiology, and clinical trials. Specifically, Professor Irwin's research involves examining the effect of exercise and weight loss on cancer prognosis. She is currently the principal investigator on a randomized clinical trial among women with breast cancer designed to investigate the effect of exercise on breast cancer prognosis. Another trial of exercise on survival and survivorship in women with ovarian cancer will begin in mid-2009. Other ongoing research includes physical activity promotion and obesity prevention studies.


Selected Publications

  • Irwin ML, Smith A, McTiernan A, Cronin K, Ballard-Barbash R, Baumgartner R, Gilliland F, Bernstein L. Influence of pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity on mortality in breast cancer survivors: The Health Eating Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2008 Aug 2026(24):3958-64.
  • Irwin ML, Cadmus L, Alvarez-Reeves M, et al. Recruiting and retaining breast cancer survivors into a randomized controlled exercise trial: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study. Cancer, 2008 Jun 1112(11 Suppl):2593-606.
  • Irwin ML, Varma K, Alvarez-Reeves, et al. Randomized controlled exercise trial on insulin and IGFs in breast cancer survivors: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarker Prev. 2009 18(1): 306-13.
  • Irwin ML, Alvarez-Reeves M, Cadmus L, et al. Randomized controlled exercise trial on body fat, lean mass, and bone mineral density in breast cancer survivors: The Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study. Obesity. In Press.
  • Irwin ML, Mayne ST. Impact of nutrition and physical activity on cancer survival. The Cancer Journal: The Journal of Principles and Practices of Oncology, 2008 14(6): 435-41.
  • Irwin ML, McTiernan A, Bernstein L, et al. Relationship of obesity and physical activity with c-peptide, leptin, and insulin-like growth factors in breast cancer survivors. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention. 2005 14(12): 2881-8
  • Irwin, M.L., McTiernan, A., Baumgartner, R.N., Baumgartner, K.B., Bernstein, L., Gilliland, F.D., and Ballard-Barbash, R. Changes in Body Fat and Weight After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Influence of Demographic, Prognostic, and Lifestyle Factors. Journal of Clinical Oncology 23(4): 774-782, 2005.
  • Irwin, M.L., Tworoger, S.S., Yasui, Y., Rajan, B., McVarish, L., LaCroix, K., Ulrich, C.M., Bowen, D., Schwartz, R.S., Potter, J.D., and McTiernan, A. Influence of Demographic, Physiologic, and Psychosocial Variables on Adherence to a Yearlong Moderate-Intensity Exercise Trial in Postmenopausal Women. Preventive Medicine 39(6): 1080-1086, 2004
  • Irwin, M.L., McTiernan, A., Bernstein, L., Gilliland, F.D., Baumgartner, R., Baumgartner, K., and Ballard-Barbash, R. Physical Activity Levels Among Breast Cancer Survivors. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 36(9): 1484-1491, 2004.
  • Irwin, M.L., Crumley, D., McTiernan, A, Bernstein, L., Baumgartner, R., Gilliland, F.D., Kriska, A., and Ballard-Barbash, R. Physical Activity Levels Before and After a Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma: the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. Cancer 97(7): 1746-1757, 2003

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