An official website of the United States government
Chunyan He

I am a Molecular and Genetic Epidemiologist.

Chunyan He

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

My background in both molecular biology and epidemiology has given me a comprehensive knowledge of cancer at the molecular, as well as at the population level, and helped me to develop a unique understanding of the need to integrate basic science and epidemiological studies into cancer research.

Dr. He's research focuses on the genetic susceptibility and etiology of breast cancer. Her research interests include identifying genetic risk factors through genome-wide association study (GWAS) and candidate gene approaches, characterizing their underlying molecular mechanisms, and understanding how these genetic variants interact with environmental and lifestyle factors in cancer etiology and prevention.

The current project led by Dr. He investigates DNA methylation changes in tumor and normal breast tissue and how these changes are influenced by genetic and environmental risk factors. Conventional approaches comparing DNA methylation profiles in tumor and normal tissue are unable to distinguish causal alterations, which drive tumorigenesis, from reactive ones that are influenced by the tumor. In the project, Dr. He and her team apply an integrative genomic and epidemiological approach that combines the regulation of DNA methylation in normal breast tissue and differential DNA methylation profiling in tumor and normal breast tissue. The objective is to identify potentially causal epigenetic markers that drive breast cancer development.

This work has a major impact on breast cancer research. Findings from this project will identify, for the first time, genetic and environmental factors that impact DNA methylation in normal breast tissue and identify potentially causal DNA methylation markers that drive breast cancer development. The identification of causal epigenetic changes and their related driving events may provide a rare opportunity for cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, as well as targeted and selective therapy.

Grant Listing
Project Title Grant Number Program Director Publication(s)
An Integrative Approach to Identify Causal Epigenetic Markers for Breast Cancer
Mukesh Verma Publish File

To request edits to this profile, please contact Mark Alexander at

Last Updated: 09/14/2015 12:26:24