Science Advisory Panel
In developing our educational outreach and policy advocacy, the Breast Cancer Fund is committed to grounding its work in the latest scientific information on the complex relationships between environmental factors and breast cancer. We therefore go to our Scientific Advisory Panel for advice when we are working to explore new scientific data or plan new initiatives based on the latest scientific evidence.
The scientists listed here were invited to join the Panel in recognition of their important work in the field of environmental health related especially to environmental risks for breast cancer, and of their commitment to the mission of the Breast Cancer Fund.
Janet Gray, Ph.D., Science Advisory Panel co-chair
Professor and Director of Science, Technology and Society, Vassar College
Vassar professor and director of the college's Science, Technology, and Society Program, Janet Gray has a background in behavioral neuroscience, and her laboratory research has focused on the effects of estrogens and mixed antiestrogens, especially tamoxifen, on brain activity and behavior. In recent years, her research and writing focus has turned toward engaging the public in the complex issues surrounding breast cancer and environmental risks. Gray is the editor of the fifth (2008) and sixth (2010) editions of the Breast Cancer Fund's groundbreaking report, State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment. She led a multidisciplinary group of students and professionals in the development of a widely distributed interactive tool that explores the scientific literature on breast cancer and environmental risks. Gray was honored with a Science Hero Award by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2007. She also serves on the Breast Cancer Fund's Board of Directors.
Check out the Clear Science section of our website, edited by Dr. Gray.
Susan Kutner, M.D., Science Advisory Panel co-chair
Breast surgeon, Kaiser Permanente
Chair, Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Breast Care Task Force
Susan Kutner is a general surgeon with a subspecialty practice in breast surgery at Santa Teresa Kaiser Hospital in San Jose, California. From 1996 to 2001, she was Chief of the Department of Surgery at Santa Teresa. Since 1995, Kutner has served as Chair of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Breast Care Task Force. She is also a member of the Interregional Breast Care Leaders Group of the Permanente Federation. Susan has been a member of the California Department of Health Master Plan Task Force on Breast and Cervical Cancer, the American Cancer Society Subgroup Evaluating Clinical Breast Exam, the National Quality Forum Committee on Consumer Based Measurements of Mammography Centers, and the Quality Care Advisory Board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She has participated as a climber and team doctor for the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds events on Mt. Fuji in 2000, Mt. Rainier in 2005 and Mt. Shasta in 2003, 2006 and 2007 and participated in Sacred Treks: Bhutan in 2008, a benefit event for the Breast Cancer Fund. Kutner was honored with an Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices Hero Award by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2007. She also serves on the Breast Cancer Fund's Board of Directors.
Kristan Aronson, Ph.D.
Professor, Queen's University
Kristan Aronson works with trans-disciplinary research teams to examine the relative contribution of environmental and genetic factors as causes of breast cancer. Current projects focus on air pollution, occupational exposures such as shift work, biomarkers such as melatonin, vitamin D, and sex hormones, and other factors such as physical activity, and genetic variants. Previous research contributions have impacted workers’ compensation, nutritional supplementation policy, and toxin reduction legislation. Aronson is a Professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in Community Health and Epidemiology, and in the School of Environmental Studies, and she is a member of the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology at the Cancer Research Institute. Kristan has held several career and research awards, she is the recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medallion of Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her volunteer service, and she has been awarded three visiting professorships in Canada and Australia.
University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, Northeastern University
Phil Brown is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute that specializes in Social Science-Environmental Health collaborations and includes a National Science Foundation Training Grant to educate and train people in such collaborations. He is the author of No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia, and Community Action, and Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement, and co-editor of Social Movements in Health, and Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements. He studies biomonitoring and household exposure, social policy and regulation concerning flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds, reporting back data to participants, and health social movements. He is co-director of the Community Engagement Core and Research Translation Core for Northeastern’s Superfund Research Program PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats).
Lisa Bailey, M.D.
Breast surgeon and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
Dr. Lisa Bailey has been in practice in the East Bay since 1982, and specializes in the care of patients with breast cancer and other breast health issues. She completed her degree in Mathematics at Northwestern University in 1971, and went on to her MD degree at Northwestern University Medical School in 1975. She completed her General Surgery residency at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Medical School, and her Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Evanston Hospital, in 1981. Dr. Bailey is past president and member of the Board of Directors of the California Division of the American Cancer Society, and currently chairs their Breast Cancer Taskforce. She is a member of the Commission of Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and also a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. She is a Co-Founder and the Medical Director of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center, and a Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. She chairs the weekly Breast Cancer Tumor Board at that institution, and has instituted several clinical programs and the quality assurance program at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center. She is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and member of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association, the East Bay Surgical Society, San Francisco Surgical Society, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Society of Breast Diseases, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.
Elisa V. Bandera, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Rutgers School of Public Health.
Dr. Bandera’s research focuses on the role that dietary factors and obesity play on cancers of the breast, ovary, and endometrium. She is also leading the Jersey Girl Study, which aims to evaluate predictors of pubertal markers in girls and the Women’s Circle of Health Study, a study evaluating risk factors for breast cancer risk and survival in African American women. She is also very involved in disseminating epidemiologic findings by translating them into public health recommendations. At the national and international levels, she was a member of the American Cancer Society’s 2006 Committee on Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention and was also involved in the 2007 World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research’s Second Expert Report on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer. More recently, she also served as a member of the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention and Survival 2011 and is currently a member of the expert panel for the World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research Continuous Update Project.
Julia Brody, Ph.D.
Executive director, Silent Spring Institute
Julia Brody is the executive director of Silent Spring Institute, the only scientific research organization dedicated to advancing breast cancer prevention. Founded in 1994 by women’s health activists, Silent Spring Institute leads groundbreaking studies to identify the links between environmental chemicals and breast cancer, opening new doors to understanding the health risks associated with toxics where we live and work. Having published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles, Brody and the Institute are generating a body of evidence that supports a policy agenda for breast cancer prevention. Among Brody’s most prominent publications is a major scientific review she led on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, published in Cancer. As part of Silent Spring's innovative exposure research, Brody pioneered the development of ethical and effective methods for reporting personal exposures to study participants when the health implications are uncertain. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health and recognized with a US EPA Environmental Merit Award. Brody is an adjunct assistant professor at Brown University School of Medicine. She was honored with a Science Hero Award by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2003.
Check out our joint blog with Dr. Brody "50 Years After Rachel Carson: There's Still Hope"
Research director, Silent Spring Institute
Ruthann Rudel is the research director at Silent Spring Institute, where she leads major exposure and toxicology research programs focusing on hormonally active chemicals and biological mechanisms by which chemicals may influence breast cancer. Her innovations in “breast cancer toxicology” include major peer-reviewed articles that identify chemicals that cause breast tumors or alter breast development in animal models, and she is developing a database of methods for measuring these chemicals in women. Rudel leads a program to develop breast cancer-relevant chemical safety tests for green chemistry. She also directs the Institute’s Household Exposure Study, which has been described as the “most comprehensive analysis to date” of exposures in homes and is widely cited. She has served on the U.S. National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors and is an adjunct Research Associate in the Brown University School of Medicine.
Richard Clapp, M.P.H., D.Sc.
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health, B.U. School of Public Health
Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts—Lowell
Richard Clapp is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health, B.U. School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts—Lowell. He is an epidemiologist with over 40 years of experience in public health practice, teaching and consulting. He has a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a Doctor of Science degree in Epidemiology from Boston University School of Public Health. He served as director of the Massachusetts Cancer Registry from 1980 to1989. He was co-chair of the steering committee for Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility from 1999 to 2008. Clapp was an associate editor of Environmental Health Perspectives from 2006 to 2010 and on the editorial board of New Solutions from 1994 to 2010. A selection of articles he edited, called “From Critical Science to Solutions,” was published in 2011. His research has included studies of cancer around nuclear facilities, cancer and other diseases in military veterans, occupational causes of cancer including breast cancer, among other topics.
Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D.
Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Tyrone B. Hayes was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where he developed his love for biology. Hayes’ research focuses on developmental endocrinology with an emphasis on evolution and environmental regulation of growth and development. For the last ten years, the role of endocrine disrupting contaminants, particularly pesticides, has been a major focus. Hayes is interested in the impact of chemical contaminants on environmental health and public health, with a specific interest in the role of pesticides in global amphibian declines and environmental justice concerns associated with targeted exposure of racial and ethnic minorities to endocrine disruptors and the role that exposure plays in health care disparities.
Environmental and Health Sustainability Consultant
As an environmental engineer, research director, and consultant on issues of environmental health and sustainability, Jane Houlihan focuses on transforming science into resources that empower others to make healthy, sustainable choices. Houlihan is the director and co-author of “Pollution in Newborns,” a study of industrial chemicals in umbilical cord blood, and many related studies revealing the health implications of people’s everyday exposures to pollutants and pesticides. As long-time research director at Washington-DC based Environmental Working Group, she led a diverse team of scientists and programmers to create online, data-driven guides to chemicals in tap water, sunscreen, cosmetics, bottled water, and other common consumer products. She conceived of and directed for its first eight years EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics safety guide. Her research areas span risk assessment, chemicals policy, and green product formulation. Houlihan is an original co-founder of the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and a 2005 recipient of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Science Hero Award.
Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Staff Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Occupational Medicine Department
Assistant clinical professor, University of California, San Francisco
Sarah Janssen is a staff physician at Kaiser Permanente's Occupational Medicine Department. She is also Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF School of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Department of Urology. Her work has included research on flame retardants, cosmetics, plastics and plasticizers, breast cancer and threats to adult reproductive health and child development.
Janssen is board-certified in preventive medicine, with a subspecialty in occupational and environmental medicine. She completed her M.D. and Ph.D. in molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2001, and her Master of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. Janssen is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and served as senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) from 2006 to 2013. She was honored with a Science Hero Award by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2010.
Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, California Breast Cancer Research Program
Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch is the director of the California Breast Cancer Research Program in the Office of the President at the University of California. In that role, she guides California’s research strategies and prioritizes efforts designed to bring an end to breast cancer. This has included building programs in community-based participatory research, as well as Program-directed strategies on environmental links to, and disparities in, breast cancer. She is the PI of a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-funded grant to build infrastructure in community-based participatory research in breast cancer disparities and environment. Kavanaugh-Lynch is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, New York University School of Medicine and University of Washington School of Public Health. She has served on numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer-review committees, as well as boards and advisory panels for NIH, the California Department of Public Health and Environmental Protection Agency, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the Breast Cancer Fund and the American Cancer Society. She is the recipient of awards from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Lesbian Health Fund, Zero Breast Cancer, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.
Lawrence Kushi, Sc.D.
Director of Scientific Policy, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research
Lawrence H. Kushi, ScD, is Director of Scientific Policy at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. Prior to joining the Division of Research, Dr. Kushi was at Columbia University, where he held the Ella McCollum Vahlteich Chair in Human Nutrition in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College; and he was a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Kushi is internationally recognized for his expertise in nutritional epidemiology, and his research interests focus on the role of diet and nutrition in the etiology of coronary artery disease and breast and other cancers. He serves on a grant review committee for the American Cancer Society and has served on various American Cancer Society committees to develop guidelines for the dietary prevention and management of cancer. Dr. Kushi has also served on review committees for the Epidemiology and Disease Control Study Section of the National Institutes of Health, and the Integration Panel of the Breast Cancer Research Program of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. He was formerly the chair of the Food and Nutrition Section of the American Public Health Association; on the executive committee of the American Society of Preventive Oncology; and has worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Kushi graduated from Amherst College and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Maricel V. Maffini, Ph.D.
Maricel Maffini is a private contractor on issues related to chemical safety, food additive regulation, science and public health. Prior to her current role she was a senior scientist in the health and environment program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, DC. She joined NRDC in 2013 after completing a three-year research project evaluating the U.S. food additive regulatory system at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Before joining Pew, she was an investigator at Tufts University in Boston, MA. Her research areas included breast cancer, endocrine disruption and tissue engineering. She studied the effect of bisphenol-A, or BPA, a food contact substance and estrogen mimic on the normal development of the breast in monkeys and rodents, and its link to breast cancer. Maricel has authored numerous scientific publications on endocrine disruption, mammary gland biology, carcinogenesis, conflicts of interest in food chemical safety decision-making, toxicity data gaps in chemicals used in food and packaging and the breakdowns in FDA food additive regulatory system. Dr. Maffini holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the National University of Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina. She was awarded several fellowships, including one from the World Bank. She was also awarded the Natalie V. Zucker Research Center for Women Scholars Award and grants from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the US Department of Defense and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health
Rachel Morello-Frosch is professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Her research examines race and class determinants of environmental health among diverse communities in the United States. A focus of her current work is assessing the relationship between social inequality, psychosocial stress and how these factors may interact with chemical exposures to amplify pollution/health outcome relationships and produce environmental health inequalities. Much of her work has examined this environmental justice question in the context of ambient air pollution and indoor chemical exposures, prenatal exposures and effects on birth outcomes and children’s health, often using community-based participatory research approaches for data collection and risk communication. As part of this work she explores the scientific challenges and bioethical considerations associated with exposure assessment and chemical biomonitoring research in economically and racially marginalized communities. In collaboration with scientific colleagues and regulatory scientists, she has worked to develop scientifically valid and transparent tools for assessing the cumulative impacts of chemical and non-chemical stressors to improve regulatory decision-making and environmental policy in ways that advance environmental justice. Morello-Frosch is co-author of the book Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science, and Health Social Movements.
Ted Schettler, M.D., M.P.H.
Science director, Science and Environmental Health Network
Ted Schettler is science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network and the Collaborative on Health and Environment. An accomplished writer, Schettler is a principal author of the report, Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, the most comprehensive review of research linking lifetime exposure and influences, beginning in the womb, to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other chronic illnesses. Schettler's groundbreaking research has revolutionized the way we think about the connection between early-life exposures and later-life disease and has influenced the course we will take toward creating a healthy future. Schettler was honored with a Science Hero Award by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2009.
Eleni Tousimis, M.D., FACS
Director, Ourisman Breast Center at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
Dr. Eleni Tousimis is a board certified General Surgeon who specializes in breast cancer surgery. She joined Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center as the Director of the Ourisman Breast Center, Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery, and fellowship Director of the Georgetown Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship in Washington D.C. in 2012. She also served as the 99th President of the American Medical Women’s Association in 2014.
Dr. Tousimis attended Dartmouth and Mount Holyoke College where she graduated cum laude. She then received her medical degree from Albany Medical College. Following her breast surgery fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2001, she completed additional specialty training in minimally invasive surgery of the breast at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy with Dr. Veronesi.
Dr. Tousimis was previously Associate Professor of Surgery at the Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital for almost ten years and served as Associate Program Director of Surgical Education. She has been recognized for her pursuit of new initiatives in breast cancer management, including nipple sparing mastectomy, partial breast radiation and new anesthetic techniques for breast surgery to improve outcomes and aesthetics. As a well respected clinician, researcher, and teacher, Dr. Tousimis has received numerous awards and holds leadership positions in several professional societies and acted as section editor of the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Journal. She has been recognized as a Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors, Top Surgeons, Best Doctors, and Washingtonian Top Doctors. She received an Achievement Award from the City of New York for her surgical skill, compassion and service to the people of New York as well as the Distinguished Female Physician Award for her Outstanding Accomplishments in the field of Breast Surgery in 2015.
Tracey J. Woodruff, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California, San Francisco Website
Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF
Tracey Woodruff is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco and the director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. She has done extensive research and policy development on environmental health issues, with a particular emphasis on early-life development. Her research areas include evaluating prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and related adverse pregnancy outcomes, and characterizing developmental risks. She has authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters. She was previously at the U.S. EPA, where she was a senior scientist and policy advisor in the Office of Policy, and author of numerous government documents. She is an associate editor of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Woodruff received her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, and her M.P.H. in environmental health from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed a Pew Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health Policy Studies.
Ami Zota, Sc.D.
Dr. Ami Zota is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Dr. Zota’s work focuses on using innovative, multi-disciplinary methods to: 1) identify sources and consequences of human exposure to environmental contaminants; 2) illustrate how environmental hazards may interact with social disadvantage and psychosocial stressors to exacerbate health disparities; and 3) evaluate the impact of NGO and regulatory action on emerging environmental health problems. Much of her current research involves human exposure science and reproductive epidemiology studies of endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as flame retardants, phthalates, BPA, and others. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Public Health (BSPH) from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as well as an MS and Doctor of Science (ScD) in Environmental Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Check out our interview with Dr. Zota on her recent study, which tracked levels of phthalate exposure in people: