Prospective Cohort Studies for Environmental Health Research
Dale Sandler, Ph.D.
Chief, Epidemiology Branch and Senior Investigator
A founding member of the Epidemiology Branch at NIEHS, Dale Sandler has played a pivotal role in promoting epidemiologic research at NIEHS and fostering collaborations between population and bench scientists in the Intramural Program, across the NIH and with the Extramural community. Her research on environmental risk factors for chronic diseases takes advantage of large prospective studies that she initiated and nurtured over many years. She is Principal Investigator of the Sister Study, now in its 20th year. The Sister Study follows more than 50,000 sisters of women who have had breast cancer to identify environmental and genetic contributors to breast cancer risk. In 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, she established the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) Study, a prospective study of the health of clean-up and response workers. In partnership with researchers at the NCI, she also has been following a cohort of licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses since 1997. Dr. Sandler has received NIEHS and NIH Director’s awards for this work and has received NIEHS, NIH and GPP awards for mentoring. In 2015 she received the Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service from the American Medical Association.
In this lecture, Dr. Sandler will describe the wide range of research made possible by the Sister Study cohort established in 2003 to study environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer in a cohort of 50,000 women who have a sister with breast cancer. The prospective design and extensive questionnaire data, biological samples, and physiologic measurements at enrollment along with detailed follow-up questionnaires has allowed researchers to study lifecourse exposures associated with breast cancer as well other health endpoints. As the field has evolved, the study has incorporated newer technologies to study the role of epigenetics, metabolomics and exposomics. The cohort is now conducting research on climate factors and health disparities using individual level and geospatial measures of environmental, psychosocial, and socioeconomic factors.
- To describe the wide range of research made possible by the Sister Study cohort established in 2003 to study environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer in a cohort of 50,000 women who have a sister with breast cancer
- To design and extensive questionnaire data, biological samples, and physiologic measurements
- To understand climate factors and health disparities.
This page was last updated on Monday, November 13, 2023