Meet Our Team
New York: Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Dr. Mary Beth Terry
- Principal Investigator
Dr. Terry received her PhD in Epidemiology from Columbia University in 1999, after receiving her MA in Economics from the University of Washington in 1990. Dr. Terry is funded through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as Principal Investigator of a study investigating the role of early life exposures in breast cancer and of the New York Breast Cancer Family Registry.
Dr. Terry focuses her research on breast cancer and on the molecular epidemiology and lifecourse methods of the disease, in particular she is investigating how adult health and diseases such as breast cancer may be influenced by prenatal and early life exposures. She recently reported that prenatal exposures affect the timing of menarche, adult body size, and epigenetic changes - all indicators of future cancer risk. Dr. Terry teaches introductory and advanced epidemiologic methods at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
Dr. Wendy Chung
- Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Chung received her PhD in genetics from the Rockefeller University in 1996 and her MD from Cornell University in 1998. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center as well as a fellowship in both Clinical Genetics and Molecular Genetics.
Dr. Chung focuses her research on the genetic basis of human diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, congenital heart disease, congenital diaphragmatic hernias, cardiomyopathies, and spinal muscular atrophy. She is the Director of the Pediatric Neuromuscular Network Molecular Core, the New York Obesity Center Molecular Genetics Core and the Diabetes and Endocrine Research Center Molecular Genetics Core. She is also the Director of the Clinical Genetics Program, Clinical Cancer Genetics program, and Director of the fellowship program in Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics, and supervises medical education in human genetics for Columbia University Medical School.
Dr. Regina Santella
Dr. Santella received her PhD in 1976 from the City University of New York in 1976. She is currently a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and the Director of Columbia’s NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan. She also directs the Biomarkers Shared Resource of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Santella's research involves the development of laboratory methods for the detection of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens and their use in molecular epidemiology studies to identify causative factors, susceptible populations, and preventive interventions. Her work has allowed the determination of exposure to carcinogens by the measurement of their binding to DNA with highly specific and sensitive immunoassays using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that her laboratory has developed. These studies have demonstrated higher levels of DNA damage in those with environmental or occupational exposures and in subjects with breast, lung, and liver cancer compared to controls. In addition, the interaction between environmental exposures and genetic susceptibility on cancer risk is being investigated using high throughput genotyping to determine polymorphisms in carcinogen metabolism, oxidative stress, and DNA repair genes.
Dr. Jasmine McDonald
Dr. McDonald received her PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health in 2009 from Harvard University. Prior to her doctoral program, she received her B.S. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2003), where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar. She is currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia Unviersity.
Dr. McDonald has postdoctoral training in examining modifiable factors for breast cancer prevention in high breast cancer risk populations. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. McDonald joined the University of Pennsylvania where she examined sociobehavioral issues related to genomic medicine among populations at high cancer risk. As a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia, Dr. McDonald's work focused on modifiable behaviors for breast cancer prevention in high risk populations with a focus on epidemiological methodology. Her research to date examines the role of modifiable factors (i.e., alcohol) on mammographic breast density, an intermediate marker of breast cancer. Dr. McDonald has had the privilege of working with the LEGACY Girls Study since 2011. She lives in New York with her cat and enjoys dancing, making soup, and being with family.
Dr. Lauren Houghton
Dr. Houghton received her PhD in Anthropology in 2013 from Durham University (United Kingdom) and has trained in Epidemiology for the last 7 years. She is currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University.
Dr. Houghton has worked internationally to better understand both the biological and cultural experience of adolescence in populations with different breast cancer risk. She is also interested in migration and has extensively worked with migrant studies to better understand how lifestyles change when women move from low to high risk geographic areas. While conducting fieldwork in England and Bangladesh, she closely engaged with Bangladeshi migrant girls through afterschool clubs to study growing up from the girls’ perspectives. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Houghton was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute where she investigated lifestyle and hormonal factors driving international differences in breast cancer incidence. Dr. Houghton is excited to now work with the talented team and wonderful families of the LEGACY Girls Study. She lives in New York with her chef husband and enjoys eating his delicious food, then dancing off the calories.
Melissa White, MSSW
- Project Coordinator
Melissa received her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2002, with a focus on policy analysis, in addition to clinical training. Working in public health and social science research since 2001, she has coordinated studies of domestic violence risk assessment, sexual assault revictimization, and the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, and she served as scientific coordinator of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Prior to engaging in research, Melissa worked in organizations and programs serving women, people of color, immigrants and refugees, youth, adoptees, cancer survivors, people living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of violence, and bereaved individuals. She is currently Project Coordinator of the LEGACY Girls Study and is also a staff therapist at a psychotherapy institute in Manhattan.
Melissa’s professional and research interests include health and mental health, trauma and resilience, the psychosocial impacts of breast cancer on women and families, and cancer disclosure in families. She is also interested in social justice, individual and collective agency, identity, narrative, and community. She has two cats and enjoys taking classes, hiking, traveling, and attending music and dance performances.
Ontario: Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mt. Sinai Hospital
Dr. Irene Andrulis
- Principal Investigator
Dr. Andrulis, PI of the Ontario ste, is a molecular geneticist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (SLRI) of Mount Sinai Hospital where she holds the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Molecular Medicine. She obtained her BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Biology and Psychology and her PhD from the University of California at Irvine in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. She is a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Genetics, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, at the University of Toronto. She is co-head of the Fred A. Litwin Centre for Cancer Genetics at the SLRI and Director of the Ontario Cancer Genetics Network (OCGN).
Dr. Andrulis and her colleagues are interested in the identification of factors associated with susceptibility, histopathology and prognosis of cancer. They conduct multi-disciplinary studies to identify genetic alterations that may play a role in breast cancer and to determine the clinical importance of these changes. They use high throughput molecular technologies, biostatistics and bioinformatics and their studies include characterization of novel genes and pathways by biochemical and functional testing. The goals of their studies are to explore the clinical importance of genetic alterations, to identify risk factors and lifestyle modifications early enough to prevent or diminish the effects of cancer, to tailor treatment to increase the likelihood of a cure, and to identify novel targets for new cancer therapeutics.
Dr. Andrulis and her colleagues have recruited and followed clinically two large cohorts of women with breast cancer, one is a group with axillary lymph node negative breast cancer and the other is the Ontario Familial Breast Cancer Registry (OFBCR). More recently, through the OCGN and the OFBCR they are recruiting girls to the LEGACY study.
Dr. Julia Knight
- Co-Principal Investigator
Julia Knight, PhD is a senior investigator in the Prosserman Centre for Health Research at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and an Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Knight is an epidemiologist by training and her research program has largely focused on understanding the genetic and non-genetic causes of cancer, particularly breast cancer, with a view to disease prevention and also on the determinants of and health-related associations with vitamin D. Additional areas of interest include melatonin and circadian disruption, alcohol, hormones, and body composition. A particular area of interest is the study of early events related to the development of breast cancer and the development of intermediate endpoints in order to study these events.
- Research Project Director
Gord Glendon has an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters in Genetic Counselling from McGill University. Gord has worked in the field of familial predisposition to cancer for over 20 years. His time has been spent in both the clinical and research realms, initially as a genetic counsellor and more recently as the Research Project Director of the Ontario Familial Breast Cancer Registry. His research interest lies in the impact of the presence of cancer upon families and the clinical application of evolving genetic technology. Gord enjoys biking and hiking with the family and has a keen interest in music.
Danielle Hanna, MS CGC
- Study Coordinator
Danielle Hanna, MS CGC is a certified genetic counselor at the Ontario Familial Breast Cancer Registry and study coordinator of the LEGACY Girls Study at Princess Margaret Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto Ontario.
Ms. Hanna received her MS in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. For well over 10 years, she has worked with families in the clinical cancer genetics setting with a primary focus on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. She loves gardening, baking and lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband, two kids, rabbit and two frogs.
- Study Associate
Mai-Liis Tammemagi is a Study Associate for LEGACY in Ontario and has been with the team since the summer of 2012. She helps with recruitment and retention and has been developing a Junior Scientist Program for participating LEGACY girls. This includes fun and educational activities such as lab tours and science experiments. She received her BEd from Brock University, and completed her undergrad at Concordia University in Art Education. She loves to go running with her husband and their puppy, and this year she ran her first half-marathon.
Philadelphia: Fox Chase Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Dr. Mary B. Daly
- Principal Investigator
Mary B. Daly, M.D., Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics, and Timothy R. Talbot Jr., Chair for Cancer Research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Daly’s focus is women’s health, and she is the Founding Director of the Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program evaluating preventive approaches to breast and ovarian cancer. This program now known as the Risk Assessment Program also includes prostate, gastrointestinal, lung and melanoma prevention and risk assessment. Her primary areas of research include the epidemiologic and genetic aspects of breast and ovarian cancer, and the translation of this information into effective cancer control approaches.
Dr. Daly has initiated studies of ovarian cancer screening modalities, quality of life after prophylactic surgery and serum biomarkers of breast cancer risk. As Principal Investigator of the Philadelphia Breast Cancer Registry, she is collaborating with institutions worldwide to study the patterns of familial breast and ovarian cancer, gene-environment interactions, and the development of novel, genetic-based therapeutic and preventive strategies. Dr. Daly is the Co-Director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center Keystone Program in Personalized Risk and Prevention. Its goal is to bridge the gap between Fox Chase’s current clinical programs in family risk for cancer and basic prevention research programs to decrease cancer incidence and mortality.
Dr. Angela Bradbury
- Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Bradbury received her MD from The Medical University of South Carolina in 1999. She completed an internship in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the University of Chicago. Her fellowship included specialized training in cancer genetics and breast oncology, and she completed a Medical Ethics fellowship at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Dr. Bradbury is Medical Oncologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She continues to care for patients with breast cancer and patients and families at increased risk for cancer.
Dr. Bradbury has been conducting translational genetic research focused on the clinical implementation of genetic medicine to promote the health of individuals, families and communities since 2003. Her primary research program has focused on evaluating parental communication of BRCA1/2 test results to children and young adults in hereditary cancer families and the risks and benefits of testing children for adult onset genetic predisposition. She has also been conducting research evaluating knowledge and perceptions of breast cancer risk in adolescent girls, ethical issues in pediatric biobanking, telephone and telemedicine delivery of genetic services and patient preferences for informed consent and privacy with emerging genetic and genomic tests.
Dr. Lisa A. Schwartz
Lisa A. Schwartz, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Psychologist for the Cancer Survivorship Program. Dr. Schwartz studies the adaptation and health of youth affected by cancer and their families. Specifically, she examines developmental, health, and psychological outcomes, as well as health behaviors and engagement in health care.
Most of Dr. Schwartz research focuses on adolescents and young adults (AYAs), both on and off treatment, with an emphasis on facilitating optimal transition to adulthood and adult-based health care for this vulnerable population. Dr. Schwartz’s research includes descriptive, measurement development, and intervention designs.
Colleen B. Sands, MPH
- Project Manager
Colleen Burke Sands, Project Manager of the Legacy Girls Study in Philadelphia, has a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from Penn State University and a Masters in Public Health from Temple University. She has collaborated with Dr. Daly in writing Breast Cancer Risk and Ovarian Cancer Risk booklets and in producing an educational CD called Hereditary Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer. She is currently Project Manager on several of Dr. Bradbury’s studies evaluating communications in families about genetic testing for hereditary cancers and knowledge and perceptions of breast cancer risk in adolescent girls. Outside the office, Colleen enjoys hiking and biking with her family, playing pickle-ball, and following the Phillies and Women’s Professional Soccer.
- Study Coordinator
Patrick Sicilia joined the Legacy Girls Study in the early summer of 2011, about a year after he graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. Patrick first joined Fox Chase Cancer Center volunteering in the Risk Assessment Program and later became a research assistant on Dr. Bradbury’s studies. Now at the University of Pennsylvania, Patrick is responsible for coordinating study visits for Legacy Study participants. Patrick is also a liver transplant recipient, and is one of the oldest transplants recipients to go without rejection since he was transplanted (7 months after birth). Outside of work Patrick spends most of his time playing in bands as well as recording and producing them out of a studio he runs with friends.
Eliana S. Butler, B.A.
Eliana Butler recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Boston University. Eliana is now the Clinical Research Coordinator for Dr. Schwartz in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Eliana provides research support for Dr. Schwartz’s projects, including data management and analysis, research dissemination, working with research participants, and managing study logistics. She plans on pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
Dare Henry-Moss is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and minor in Philosophy. Dare has worked in research with adolescents and adults around the topics of neighborhoods, housing, safety, pregnancy, reproductive health, decision-making, communication, and breast cancer knowledge and perceptions. Dare works on several other studies with Dr. Bradbury, including the LEGACY sister study SOFT (Study of Female Teens), a study on patient perceptions of “learning health systems,” and a study looking at improving screening for breast cancer among women at high risk.
Outside of work, Dare enjoys gardening, travel, cooking, needlework, advocacy, taking classes, and hanging out with her family.
Kelsey Karpink received her B.A. in Psychology from Penn State University in 2013, and joined Dr. Bradbury’s research team at the University of Pennsylvania later that year. Along with the Legacy Girls study, Kelsey works on another of Dr. Bradbury’s projects speaking with girls and their mothers about their knowledge of and experiences with breast cancer, as well as how families communicate about risk. She is preparing for graduate work in Psychology and hopes to teach and design her own research in the future. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys traveling and spending time outside.
San Francisco Bay Area: Stanford University
Dr. Esther John
- Principal Investigator
Dr. John received both her PhD (in 1990) and MSPH (in 1987) in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. John is Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health and of Medicine (Oncology), and co-leader of the Population Sciences Program of the Stanford Cancer Institute. Her research program is focused on identifying the causes of breast cancer and prostate cancer, with a special interest in the role of potentially modifiable lifestyle factors (physical activity, obesity, vitamin D, dietary factors), early life exposures, and genetic susceptibility. Many of her research studies are focused on Latina and African American populations and investigate racial/ethnic differences in risk factors and their contribution to cancer disparities.
Dr. John is a Senior Research Scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in Fremont, CA, Consulting Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine (Department of Health Research and Policy), and member of the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Dr. Theresa Keegan
Dr. Keegan received her PhD in Epidemiology from Stanford University in 2003, after receiving her MS in Wellness Management from Ball State University in 1999.
Dr. Keegan is particularly interested in modifiable factors and health behaviors that influence the occurrence of cancer and survival after cancer, and was funded to assess the relationship of life-time body size and physical activity to risk of Hodgkin lymphoma, and to assess the impact of the neighborhood built environment on the risk of breast cancer and survival after breast cancer. Dr. Keegan’s research also focuses on cancer surveillance, cancer outcomes and cancer survivorship, particularly among adolescents and young adults 15 to 39 years of age. She has worked extensively with population-based cancer registry data to understand patterns of cancer incidence, treatment and survival, and been involved with multiple studies examining patient experiences with cancer and patient-reported outcomes after cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Keegan is an Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of California (UC) Davis School of Medicine and a member of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Jenny Nguyen, MPH
- Research Coordinator
Jenny Nguyen is a Research Coordinator for the LEGACY Girls Study in California. She supports a variety of research activities including monitoring the flow of questionnaire mailings, tracking follow-up activities, preparing reports, and maintaining quality control of data. She joined LEGACY in the summer of 2012 while pursuing her graduate degree. Since then, she has earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of San Francisco in the Fall of 2014 and wishes to continue on to pursue a doctorate degree. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys exploring new hiking trails, going to concerts, reading books, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Utah: Huntsman Cancer Institute
Dr. Saundra Buys
- Principal Investigator
Saundra Buys received her MD degree from Tufts University in Boston. She is Professor of Medicine in the division of Oncology at Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah Health Sciences Center and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer.
Dr. Buys is co-director of the Family Cancer Assessment Clinic which provides genetic counseling, testing, and recommendations about management of risk to individuals with a family history of cancer. Her research interests are in the areas of genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer and screening for cancer, including a recently-completed study on the effect of screening for ovarian cancer.
Dr. Caren Frost
- Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Frost's Ph.D. is in Medical, Cultural, and Applied Anthropology with dissertation field research considering how rural Moroccan women use traditional and modern medical systems and information to provide health care for their families. She served as the Middle East Center's Associate Director (2009-2011) and Director of Graduate Studies (2010-2011) for the Middle East Studies Program.
Dr. Frost is the Director of International Social Work Research and the Chair of the Health Domain for the Masters of Social Work Program for the University of Utah's College of Social Work. she teaches courses on administration and supervision, global patterns of health and mental health, issues in women's health, and human rights issues in the Middle Ease and North Africa. She conducts research on the psychosocial aspects of women's health in a number of venues. Dr. Frost is engaged in developing a long-term project dealing with supportive oncology care in Mongolia.
Sarah Colonna, MD
Dr. Colonna specializes in caring for women at high risk for breast cancer. She is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Colonna sees women at risk for breast cancer because of a known genetic mutation, a strong family history of breast cancer or abnormal findings on a breast biopsy. She researches the use of breast MRI as a tool to better quantify breast cancer risk and is involved with longitudinal studies to better understand how the environment can impact on a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Dr. Colonna is also specifically interested in how medical professionals communicate cancer risks to their patients.
Karen O'Toole, RN CCRP
- Project Manager
Ms. O'Toole has worked for 12 years as a staff nurse in an oncology, med-surg, infectious disease unit, with specialized training and certification in oncology since 1993. She currently enjoy working in patient and public education at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (since 1999) and have had the pleasure of working with the Prostate, Lung, Ovarian, and Colon (PLCO) Clinical Trial, National Lung Screening Trial, STAR Trial, and now LEGACY. She is also involved with the High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
- Research Assistant
Cathy began her work at the Huntsman Cancer Institute as Administrative Secretary for the Wellness Center, where she loved connecting cancer patients and their families with programs and services that brought balance and hope into their lives. She transitioned to the Legacy Girls Study in December of 2014 to support participant appointments and help record data. Cathy has a BA in Sociology and experience in offices, classrooms, lay ministry and volunteer services.