Julie R. Palmer, ScD, MPH

Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Professor, Medicine

Julie Palmer
1010 Commonwealth Ave


Dr. Palmer is a cancer epidemiologist based at the Slone Epidemiology Center, with research projects spanning cancer early detection, etiology, and survivorship. Her primary focus is on elucidating reasons for the disproportionately high incidence of hormone receptor negative breast cancer in African American women and on understanding and reducing racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. She is a founding leader of the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a prospective cohort study of 59,000 African American women who enrolled in 1995 and have been followed by biennial questionnaire since that time. Her breast cancer research within the BWHS includes work on risk prediction models for breast cancer in African American women, identifying differences in childbearing patterns as a contributing cause to the excess incidence of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer in African American women, and investigating the interrelationships of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and inflammation on breast cancer risk. Her current grants support work on somatic mutations, epigenetics, and gene expressions profiles in breast cancer tumors from African American women, setting the stage for a better understanding of the role of epidemiologic and genetic factors in etiology and prognosis. Dr. Palmer has served on many NIH and external advisory committees, including as Chair of the NIH Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Sleep Epidemiology Study Section, 2015-2017, and Co-Chair of a Working Group for the National Cancer Advisory Board, NCI, 2018-2019.

Other Positions

  • Professor, Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Director, Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
  • Co-Director, BU-BMC Cancer Center, Boston University
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University


  • Harvard University, ScD
  • Boston University, MPH
  • Boston University, BS
  • Brown University, BA


  • Published on 3/27/2024

    Potter AL, Xu NN, Senthil P, Srinivasan D, Lee H, Gazelle GS, Chelala L, Zheng W, Fintelmann FJ, Sequist LV, Donington J, Palmer JR, Yang CJ. Pack-Year Smoking History: An Inadequate and Biased Measure to Determine Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility. J Clin Oncol. 2024 Mar 27; JCO2301780. PMID: 38537159.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/26/2024

    Habeshian TS, Peeri NC, De Vivo I, Schouten LJ, Shu XO, Cote ML, Bertrand KA, Chen Y, Clarke MA, Clendenen TV, Cook LS, Costas L, Dal Maso L, Freudenheim JL, Friedenreich CM, Gallagher G, Gierach GL, Goodman MT, Jordan SJ, La Vecchia C, Lacey JV, Levi F, Liao LM, Lipworth L, Lu L, Matías-Guiu X, Moysich KB, Mutter GL, Na R, Naduparambil J, Negri E, O'Connell K, O'Mara TA, Onieva Hernández I, Palmer JR, Parazzini F, Patel AV, Penney KL, Prizment AE, Ricceri F, Risch HA, Sacerdote C, Sandin S, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, van den Brandt PA, Webb PM, Wentzensen N, Wijayabahu AT, Wilkens LR, Xu W, Yu H, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zheng W, Du M, Setiawan VW. Hypertension and risk of endometrial cancer: a pooled analysis in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2024 Mar 26. PMID: 38530242.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/19/2024

    Von Holle A, Adami HO, Baglietto L, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Bertrand KA, Blot W, Chen Y, DeHart JC, Dossus L, Eliassen AH, Fournier A, Garcia-Closas M, Giles G, Guevara M, Hankinson SE, Heath A, Jones ME, Joshu CE, Kaaks R, Kirsh VA, Kitahara CM, Koh WP, Linet MS, Park HL, Masala G, Mellemkjaer L, Milne RL, O'Brien KM, Palmer JR, Riboli E, Rohan TE, Shrubsole MJ, Sund M, Tamimi R, Tin Tin S, Visvanathan K, Vermeulen RC, Weiderpass E, Willett WC, Yuan JM, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Nichols HB, Sandler DP, Swerdlow AJ, Schoemaker MJ, Weinberg CR. BMI and breast cancer risk around age at menopause. Cancer Epidemiol. 2024 Apr; 89:102545. PMID: 38377945.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/7/2024

    Ruiz-Narváez EA, Cozier Y, Zirpoli G, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Perceived Experiences of racism in Relation to Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Epigenetic Aging in the Black Women's Health Study. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2024 Feb 07. PMID: 38324238.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/18/2024

    Sheehy S, Brock M, Palmer JR, Albert MA, Cozier YC, Rosenberg L. Perceived Interpersonal Racism in Relation to Incident Coronary Heart Disease Among Black Women. Circulation. 2024 Feb 13; 149(7):521-528. PMID: 38235551.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/12/2024

    Kataria Y, Niharika Pillalamarri B, Zirpoli G, Szalat R, Palmer JR, Bertrand KA. Body size and risk of multiple myeloma in the Black Women's Health Study. Br J Cancer. 2024 Mar; 130(5):830-835. PMID: 38212484.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/10/2024

    Wolfson EA, Schonberg MA, Eliassen AH, Bertrand KA, Shvetsov YB, Rosner BA, Palmer JR, LaCroix AZ, Chlebowski RT, Nelson RA, Ngo LH. Validating a model for predicting breast cancer and nonbreast cancer death in women aged 55 years and older. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2024 Jan 10; 116(1):81-96. PMID: 37676833.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/2/2024

    Zirpoli GR, Pfeiffer RM, Bertrand KA, Huo D, Lunetta KL, Palmer JR. Addition of polygenic risk score to a risk calculator for prediction of breast cancer in US Black women. Breast Cancer Res. 2024 Jan 02; 26(1):2. PMID: 38167144.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/21/2023

    Barnard ME, Wang X, Petrick JL, Zirpoli GR, Jones D, Johnson WE, Palmer JR. Psychosocial stressors and breast cancer gene expression in the Black Women's Health Study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2024 Apr; 204(2):327-340. PMID: 38127176.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/11/2023

    Timmins IR, Jones ME, O'Brien KM, Adami HO, Aune D, Baglietto L, Bertrand KA, Brantley KD, Chen Y, Clague DeHart J, Clendenen TV, Dossus L, Eliassen AH, Fletcher O, Fournier A, Håkansson N, Hankinson SE, Houlston RS, Joshu CE, Kirsh VA, Kitahara CM, Koh WP, Linet MS, Park HL, Lynch BM, May AM, Mellemkjær L, Milne RL, Palmer JR, Ricceri F, Rohan TE, Ruddy KJ, Sánchez MJ, Shu XO, Smith-Byrne K, Steindorf K, Sund M, Vachon CM, Vatten LJ, Visvanathan K, Weiderpass E, Willett WC, Wolk A, Yuan JM, Zheng W, Nichols HB, Sandler DP, Swerdlow AJ, Schoemaker MJ. International Pooled Analysis of Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Premenopausal Breast Cancer in Women From 19 Cohorts. J Clin Oncol. 2024 Mar 10; 42(8):927-939. PMID: 38079601.

    Read at: PubMed

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