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 8/2/2023

    Harvey SV, Wentzensen N, Bertrand K, Black A, Brinton LA, Chen C, Costas L, Dal Maso L, De Vivo I, Du M, Garcia-Closas M, Goodman MT, Gorzelitz J, Johnson L, Lacey JV, Liao L, Lipworth L, Lissowska J, Miller AB, O'Connell K, O'Mara TA, Ou X, Palmer JR, Patel AV, Paytubi S, Pelegrina B, Petruzella S, Prizment A, Rohan T, Sandin S, Setiawan VW, Sinha R, Trabert B, Webb PM, Wilkens LR, Xu W, Yang HP, Zheng W, Clarke MA. Associations of life course obesity with endometrial cancer in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). Int J Epidemiol. 2023 Aug 02; 52(4):1086-1099. PMID: 37029916.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2023

    Hu C, Nagaraj AB, Shimelis H, Montalban G, Lee KY, Huang H, Lumby CA, Na J, Susswein LR, Roberts ME, Marshall ML, Hiraki S, LaDuca H, Chao E, Yussuf A, Pesaran T, Neuhausen SL, Haiman CA, Kraft P, Lindstrom S, Palmer JR, Teras LR, Vachon CM, Yao S, Ong I, Nathanson KL, Weitzel JN, Boddicker N, Gnanaolivu R, Polley EC, Mer G, Cui G, Karam R, Richardson ME, Domchek SM, Yadav S, Hruska KS, Dolinsky J, Weroha SJ, Hart SN, Simard J, Masson JY, Pang YP, Couch FJ. Functional and Clinical Characterization of Variants of Uncertain Significance Identifies a Hotspot for Inactivating Missense Variants in RAD51C. Cancer Res. 2023 Aug 01; 83(15):2557-2571. PMID: 37253112.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2023

    Aglago EK, Kim A, Lin Y, Qu C, Evangelou M, Ren Y, Morrison J, Albanes D, Arndt V, Barry EL, Baurley JW, Berndt SI, Bien SA, Bishop DT, Bouras E, Brenner H, Buchanan DD, Budiarto A, Carreras-Torres R, Casey G, Cenggoro TW, Chan AT, Chang-Claude J, Chen X, Conti DV, Devall M, Diez-Obrero V, Dimou N, Drew D, Figueiredo JC, Gallinger S, Giles GG, Gruber SB, Gsur A, Gunter MJ, Hampel H, Harlid S, Hidaka A, Harrison TA, Hoffmeister M, Huyghe JR, Jenkins MA, Jordahl K, Joshi AD, Kawaguchi ES, Keku TO, Kundaje A, Larsson SC, Marchand LL, Lewinger JP, Li L, Lynch BM, Mahesworo B, Mandic M, Obón-Santacana M, Moreno V, Murphy N, Nan H, Nassir R, Newcomb PA, Ogino S, Ose J, Pai RK, Palmer JR, Papadimitriou N, Pardamean B, Peoples AR, Platz EA, Potter JD, Prentice RL, Rennert G, Ruiz-Narvaez E, Sakoda LC, Scacheri PC, Schmit SL, Schoen RE, Shcherbina A, Slattery ML, Stern MC, Su YR, Tangen CM, Thibodeau SN, Thomas DC, Tian Y, Ulrich CM, van Duijnhoven FJ, Van Guelpen B, Visvanathan K, Vodicka P, Wang J, White E, Wolk A, Woods MO, Wu AH, Zemlianskaia N, Hsu L, Gauderman WJ, Peters U, Tsilidis KK, Campbell PT. A Genetic Locus within the FMN1/GREM1 Gene Region Interacts with Body Mass Index in Colorectal Cancer Risk. Cancer Res. 2023 Aug 01; 83(15):2572-2583. PMID: 37249599.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/5/2023

    Barber LE, VoPham T, White LF, Roy HK, Palmer JR, Bertrand KA. Circadian Disruption and Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Black Women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2023 Jul 05; 32(7):927-935. PMID: 36409509.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/26/2023

    Dimou N, Kim AE, Flanagan O, Murphy N, Diez-Obrero V, Shcherbina A, Aglago EK, Bouras E, Campbell PT, Casey G, Gallinger S, Gruber SB, Jenkins MA, Lin Y, Moreno V, Ruiz-Narvaez E, Stern MC, Tian Y, Tsilidis KK, Arndt V, Barry EL, Baurley JW, Berndt SI, Bézieau S, Bien SA, Bishop DT, Brenner H, Budiarto A, Carreras-Torres R, Cenggoro TW, Chan AT, Chang-Claude J, Chanock SJ, Chen X, Conti DV, Dampier CH, Devall M, Drew DA, Figueiredo JC, Giles GG, Gsur A, Harrison TA, Hidaka A, Hoffmeister M, Huyghe JR, Jordahl K, Kawaguchi E, Keku TO, Larsson SC, Le Marchand L, Lewinger JP, Li L, Mahesworo B, Morrison J, Newcomb PA, Newton CC, Obon-Santacana M, Ose J, Pai RK, Palmer JR, Papadimitriou N, Pardamean B, Peoples AR, Pharoah PDP, Platz EA, Potter JD, Rennert G, Scacheri PC, Schoen RE, Su YR, Tangen CM, Thibodeau SN, Thomas DC, Ulrich CM, Um CY, van Duijnhoven FJB, Visvanathan K, Vodicka P, Vodickova L, White E, Wolk A, Woods MO, Qu C, Kundaje A, Hsu L, Gauderman WJ, Gunter MJ, Peters U. Probing the diabetes and colorectal cancer relationship using gene - environment interaction analyses. Br J Cancer. 2023 Aug; 129(3):511-520. PMID: 37365285.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/12/2023

    Young KL, Olshan AF, Lunetta K, Graff M, Williams LA, Yao S, Zirpoli GR, Troester M, Palmer JR. Influence of alcohol consumption and alcohol metabolism variants on breast cancer risk among Black women: results from the AMBER consortium. Breast Cancer Res. 2023 Jun 12; 25(1):66. PMID: 37308906.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/20/2023

    Ilozumba MN, Yaghjyan L, Datta S, Zhao J, Hong CC, Lunetta KL, Zirpoli G, Bandera EV, Palmer JR, Yao S, Ambrosone CB, Cheng TD. mTOR pathway candidate genes and energy intake interaction on breast cancer risk in Black women from the Women's Circle of Health Study. Eur J Nutr. 2023 Sep; 62(6):2593-2604. PMID: 37209192.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/4/2023

    Bodelon C, Gierach GL, Hatch EE, Riseberg E, Hutchinson A, Yeager M, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Hoover RN, Xu Z, Titus L, Palmer JR, Troisi R. In utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol and blood DNA methylation in adult women: Results from a meta-analysis of two cohort studies. Environ Res. 2023 Aug 15; 231(Pt 1):115990. PMID: 37149030.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/5/2023

    Nichols HB, House MG, Yarosh R, Mitra S, Goldberg M, Bertrand KA, Eliassen AH, Giles GG, Jones ME, Milne RL, O'Brien KM, Palmer JR, Sandin S, Willett WC, Yin W, Sandler DP, Swerdlow AJ, Schoemaker MJ. Hypertensive conditions of pregnancy, preterm birth, and premenopausal breast cancer risk: a premenopausal breast cancer collaborative group analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2023 Jun; 199(2):323-334. PMID: 37020102.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/22/2023

    Wu Z, Petrick JL, Florio AA, Guillemette C, Beane Freeman LE, Buring JE, Bradwin G, Caron P, Chen Y, Eliassen AH, Engel LS, Freedman ND, Gaziano JM, Giovannuci EL, Hofmann JN, Huang WY, Kirsh VA, Kitahara CM, Koshiol J, Lee IM, Liao LM, Newton CC, Palmer JR, Purdue MP, Rohan TE, Rosenberg L, Sesso HD, Sinha R, Stampfer MJ, Um CY, Van Den Eeden SK, Visvanathan K, Wactawski-Wende J, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zhang X, Graubard BI, Campbell PT, McGlynn KA. Endogenous sex steroid hormones and risk of liver cancer among US men: Results from the Liver Cancer Pooling Project. JHEP Rep. 2023 Jul; 5(7):100742. PMID: 37425211.

    Read at: PubMed

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