Jasmine A. McDonald, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Profile Headshot


My research portfolio is founded on my interest in understanding underlying biological mechanisms. Therefore, my areas of methodological specialty are in molecular epidemiology and study designs that probe into the underlying mechanisms of disease etiology. My area of substantive expertise is in breast cancer etiology and prevention. Given breast cancer is the most highly diagnosed cancer in women globally, there is an urgent need to provide prevention strategies that can modify a woman’s breast cancer risk across her lifecourse. A deeper etiologic understanding of the mammary gland across windows where the breast tissue is highly proliferative and may be more sensitive to carcinogenesis can enhance prevention- and risk- reducing strategies. These windows of susceptibility include the prenatal, pubertal, and postpartum windows. My multidisciplinary training in infectious disease, breast cancer epidemiology, and molecular epidemiology provides me a unique perspective for understanding and examining the complexities of cancer across the lifecourse. To this end, my research has applied a lifecourse approach to breast cancer etiology and prevention with a focus on four fundamental areas: 1) understanding early life microbial exposures and the impact on girls’ pubertal development, 2) elucidating the underlying biological mechanisms within breast cancer susceptibility windows, 3) generating preventive evidence that risk factors modify breast cancer risk, and 4) engaging minority participation in cancer research.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2003 University of Maryland
  • PhD, 2009 Harvard


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Chronic disease
  • Community Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Genetics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health Education

Selected Publications

  1. McDonald JA, Cirillo PM, Tehranifar P, et al. In Utero DDT Exposure and Breast Density in Early Menopause by Maternal History of Breast Cancer. Reproductive Toxicology (in press)
  2. McDonald JA, Tehranifar P, Flom JD, Terry MB, James-Todd T. Hair product use, age at menarche and mammographic breast density in multiethnic urban women. Environmental Health. 2018;17(1):1.
  3. Terry MB, Liao Y, Kast K, Antoniou AC, McDonald JA, Mooij TM, Engel C, Nogues C, Buecher B, Mari V, Moretta-Serra J. The Influence of Number and Timing of Pregnancies on Breast Cancer Risk for Women With BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutations. JNCI cancer spectrum. 2019 Mar 8;2(4):pky078.

McDonald JA, Tehranifar P, Flom JD, Terry MB, James-Todd T. Hair product use, age at menarche and mammographic breast density in multiethnic urban women. Environmental Health. 2018;17(1):1.

Zeinomar N, Thai A, Cloud A, McDonald JA, Liao Y, and Terry MB. Alcohol consumption and breast cancer-specific and all-cause mortality in women diagnosed with breast cancer at the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. PLoS One 2017; 12(2).

Tehranifar P, Wu H-C, McDonald JA, Jasmine F, Santella RM, Gurvich I, JD Flom, Terry MB. Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation in midlife. Epigenetics 2017 May 11:0. Pubmed PMID: 28494218.

Halbert CH, McDonald J, Vadaparampil S, Rice L, Jefferson M (2016) Conducting Precision Medicine Research with African Americans. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0154850. PubMed PMID: 27441706; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4956119.

McDonald, J.A., Eng, S.M., Dina, O.O., Schooling, C.M. and Terry, M.B. Infection and pubertal timing: a systematic review.√É‚Äö√Ç J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2016 Dec 7(6):636-651. PubMed PMID: 27827292.

McDonald JA, Michels KB, Cohn BA, Flom JD, Tehranifar P, Terry MB. Alcohol intake from early adulthood to midlife and mammographic density. Cancer Causes & Control. 2016:27(4);493-502. PubMed PMID: 26830901; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4798860.

Terry M, McDonald JA, Wu H, Eng S, Santella RM. Novel Biomarkers in the Continuum of Breast Cancer. Stearns V, editor. New York, New York: Springer; 2015. Epigenetic Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Risk.

Delgado-Cruzata L, Zhang W, McDonald JA, Tsai WY, Valdovinos C, Falci L, Wang Q, Crew KD, Santella RM, Hershman DL, Greenlee H. Dietary modifications, weight loss, and changes in metabolic markers affect global DNA methylation in Hispanic, african american, and afro-Caribbean breast cancer survivors. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4):783-90. PubMed PMID: 25833781; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4381766.

Quandt Z, Flom JD, Tehranifar P, Reynolds D, Terry MB, McDonald JA. The association of alcohol consumption with mammographic density in a multiethnic urban population. BMC Cancer. 2015;15:1094. PubMed PMID: 25777420; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4374505.

McDonald JA, Weathers B, Barg FK, Troxel AB, Shea JA, Bowen D, Guerra CE, Halbert CH. Donation intentions for cancer genetics research among African Americans. Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2012 Apr;16(4):252-8. PubMed PMID: 22224593; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3326272.