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Your Environment. Your Health.

Katie M. O'Brien, Ph.D.

Chronic Disease Epidemiology Group

Katie M. O'Brien
Katie O'Brien, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Tel 984-287-3753
katie.o'brien@nih.gov
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop A3-05
Durham, N.C. 27709

Research Summary

Katie M. O’Brien, Ph.D., is a staff scientist in the Epidemiology Branch, where she helps lead the Sister Study, a study of environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer. Within the study, O’Brien’s main interests include biomarkers of environmental exposure and how these interact with genetic factors to affect breast cancer risk. This has included a study of the relationship between Vitamin D, DNA methylation, genetic polymorphisms, and breast cancer, funded by the Office of Dietary Supplements Research Scholars Program, as well as projects on cadmium and other metals (measured in toenail samples) and risk of young-onset breast cancer, and a genome-wide association study of young-onset breast cancer. O’Brien is also interested in ovarian and uterine cancers and whether they are associated with douching or talc use. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Biostatistics and Computational Biology and continues to be interested in epidemiologic study design and methods issues, particularly statistical methods to adjust for creatinine or serum lipid levels in studies of environmental chemicals measured in urine or blood. She received her B.A. in mathematics and psychology from Williams College and her M.S.P.H. and Ph.D in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Studies

  • The Sister Study
    The Sister Study is a prospective cohort of over 50,000 women with enhanced risk for breast cancer due to having had a sister who was diagnosed with the disease.

Selected Publications

  1. Murphy JD, Sandler DP, White AJ, O'Brien KM. Severe acne and risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer research and treatment 2019 ():-. [Abstract Murphy JD, Sandler DP, White AJ, O'Brien KM. Severe acne and risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer research and treatment 2019 ():-.]
  2. Weinberg CR, Shi M, O'Brien K, Umbach DM. Adjustment for urinary creatinine or serum lipids for analytes assayed in pooled specimens. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) 2019 ():-. [Abstract Weinberg CR, Shi M, O'Brien K, Umbach DM. Adjustment for urinary creatinine or serum lipids for analytes assayed in pooled specimens. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) 2019 ():-.]
  3. O'Brien KM, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. The influence of a breast cancer diagnosis on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. American Journal of Epidemology 2019 ():-. [Abstract O'Brien KM, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. The influence of a breast cancer diagnosis on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. American Journal of Epidemology 2019 ():-.]
  4. O’Brien KM, Taylor JA, Sandler DP, Kinyamu HK, Xu Z, Weinberg CR. Vitamin D, DNA methylation, and breast cancer. In press, Breast Cancer Research.
  5. O’Brien KM, White AJ, Sandler DP, Jackson BP, Karagas MR, Weinberg CR. Do Post-breast Cancer Diagnosis Toenail Trace Element Concentrations Reflect Prediagnostic Concentrations? Epidemiology, (Cambridge, Mass.) 2019 30(1):112-119. [Abstract O’Brien KM, White AJ, Sandler DP, Jackson BP, Karagas MR, Weinberg CR. Do Post-breast Cancer Diagnosis Toenail Trace Element Concentrations Reflect Prediagnostic Concentrations? Epidemiology, (Cambridge, Mass.) 2019 30(1):112-119.]
  6. White AJ, O’Brien KM, Niehoff N, and Sandler DP. Hazardous Metallic Air Toxics and Breast Cancer Risk in a Nationwide Cohort Study. In press, Epidemiology.
  7. Schoemaker MJ, Nichols HB, Wright LB, Brook MN, Jones ME, O’Brien KM, …, Sandler DP, Swerdlow AJ. Association of body mass index and age with subsequent risk of premenopausal breast cancer. JAMA Oncology, 2018; e181771. [Abstract Schoemaker MJ, Nichols HB, Wright LB, Brook MN, Jones ME, O’Brien KM, …, Sandler DP, Swerdlow AJ. Association of body mass index and age with subsequent risk of premenopausal breast cancer. JAMA Oncology, 2018; e181771.]
  8. White AJ, O’Brien KM, Jackson BP, Karagas MR. Urine and toenail cadmium levels in pregnant women: a reliability study. Environment International, 2018; 118:86-91. [Abstract White AJ, O’Brien KM, Jackson BP, Karagas MR. Urine and toenail cadmium levels in pregnant women: a reliability study. Environment International, 2018; 118:86-91.]
  9. O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Shi M, Harmon QE, Taylor JA, and Weinberg CR. Genome-wide association study of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in US women. Frontiers in Genetics, 2018; 9:1-11. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Shi M, Harmon QE, Taylor JA, and Weinberg CR. Genome-wide association study of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in US women. Frontiers in Genetics, 2018; 9:1-11.]
  10. O'Brien KM, Upson K, Buckley JP. Lipid and Creatinine Adjustment to Evaluate Health Effects of Environmental Exposures. Current Environmental Health Reports 2017 4(1):44-50. [Abstract O'Brien KM, Upson K, Buckley JP. Lipid and Creatinine Adjustment to Evaluate Health Effects of Environmental Exposures. Current Environmental Health Reports 2017 4(1):44-50.]
  11. O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Kinyamu HK, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in vitamin D-related genes may modify vitamin D-breast cancer associations. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2017; 26(12):1761-1771. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Kinyamu HK, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in vitamin D-related genes may modify vitamin D-breast cancer associations. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2017; 26(12):1761-1771.]
  12. O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. Serum vitamin D and risk of breast cancer within five years. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2017; 125(7):1-9. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. Serum vitamin D and risk of breast cancer within five years. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2017; 125(7):1-9.]
  13. O’Brien KM, Whelan DR, Sandler DP, Hall JE, and Weinberg CR. Predictors and long-term health outcomes of eating disorders. PLoS One, 2017; 12(7): e0181104. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0181104 [Abstract O’Brien KM, Whelan DR, Sandler DP, Hall JE, and Weinberg CR. Predictors and long-term health outcomes of eating disorders. PLoS One, 2017; 12(7): e0181104. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0181104]
  14. O’Brien KM, Whelan DR, Sandler DP, and Weinberg CR. Eating disorders, and breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2017; 26(2): 206-211. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Whelan DR, Sandler DP, and Weinberg CR. Eating disorders, and breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2017; 26(2): 206-211.]
  15. Shi M*, O’Brien KM*, Sandler DP, Taylor J, Zaykin DV, and Weinberg CR. Previous GWAS hits in relation to young-onset breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2017; 161(2): 333-344. [Abstract Shi M*, O’Brien KM*, Sandler DP, Taylor J, Zaykin DV, and Weinberg CR. Previous GWAS hits in relation to young-onset breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2017; 161(2): 333-344.]
  16. Gonzalez N, O’Brien KM, D’Aloisio AA, Sandler DP§, and Weinberg CR§. Talc use, douching and risk of ovarian cancer. Epidemiology, 2016; 27: 797-802. [Abstract Gonzalez N, O’Brien KM, D’Aloisio AA, Sandler DP§, and Weinberg CR§. Talc use, douching and risk of ovarian cancer. Epidemiology, 2016; 27: 797-802.]
  17. O’Brien KM*, Shi M*, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Zaykin DV, Keller J, Wise AS, and Weinberg CR. A family-based, genome-wide association study of young-onset breast cancer: Germline variants and maternally-mediated effects. European Journal of Human Genetics, 2016; 24: 1316-1323. [Abstract O’Brien KM*, Shi M*, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Zaykin DV, Keller J, Wise AS, and Weinberg CR. A family-based, genome-wide association study of young-onset breast cancer: Germline variants and maternally-mediated effects. European Journal of Human Genetics, 2016; 24: 1316-1323.]
  18. O’Brien KM, Upson K, Cook NR, and Weinberg CR. Environmental chemicals in urine and blood: Improving methods for creatinine and lipid adjustment. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016; 124(2): 220-227 [Abstract O’Brien KM, Upson K, Cook NR, and Weinberg CR. Environmental chemicals in urine and blood: Improving methods for creatinine and lipid adjustment. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016; 124(2): 220-227]
  19. O’Brien KM, Sun J, Sandler DP, DeRoo LA, and Weinberg CR. Risk factors for young-onset breast cancer. Cancer Causes and Control. 2015; 26: 1771-1778. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Sun J, Sandler DP, DeRoo LA, and Weinberg CR. Risk factors for young-onset breast cancer. Cancer Causes and Control. 2015; 26: 1771-1778.]
  20. O’Brien KM, Fei C, Sandler DP, Nichols HB, DeRoo LA, and Weinberg CR. Hormone therapy and young-onset breast cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2015; 181: 799-807. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Fei C, Sandler DP, Nichols HB, DeRoo LA, and Weinberg CR. Hormone therapy and young-onset breast cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2015; 181: 799-807.]
  21. O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Engel LS, Bensen JT, Poole C, Herring AH and Millikan RC. Breast cancer subtypes and previously established genetic risk factors: A Bayesian approach. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2014; 23: 84-97. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Engel LS, Bensen JT, Poole C, Herring AH and Millikan RC. Breast cancer subtypes and previously established genetic risk factors: A Bayesian approach. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2014; 23: 84-97.]
  22. O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Poole C, Bensen JT, Herring AH, Engel LS and Millikan RC. Replication of breast cancer susceptibility loci in whites and African-Americans using a Bayesian approach. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2014; 179: 382-94. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Poole C, Bensen JT, Herring AH, Engel LS and Millikan RC. Replication of breast cancer susceptibility loci in whites and African-Americans using a Bayesian approach. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2014; 179: 382-94.]
  23. O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Tse CK, Perou CM, Carey LA, Foulkes WD, Dressler LG, Geradts J, and Millikan RC. Intrinsic breast tumor subtypes, race, and long-term survival in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Clinical Cancer Research. 2010; 16: 6100-6110. [Abstract O’Brien KM, Cole SR, Tse CK, Perou CM, Carey LA, Foulkes WD, Dressler LG, Geradts J, and Millikan RC. Intrinsic breast tumor subtypes, race, and long-term survival in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, Clinical Cancer Research. 2010; 16: 6100-6110.]
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