My multidisciplinary training in infectious disease, breast cancer epidemiology, and molecular epidemiology provides me a unique perspective for understanding and examining the complexities of cancer across the lifecourse. My research portfolio integrates individual level factors (e.g., health behaviors) and the macroenvironment (e.g. physical, social, microbial environment) with biology (e.g. hormonal regulation, epigenetic modification) to inform how these multiple levels of etiology impact breast cancer risk across the lifecourse - from early life to adulthood. My early life research focuses on factors associated with growth and development in girls, where markers of pubertal development are suggested breast cancer risk factors. Studies of women in midlife focus on varied health behaviors in diverse populations that experience a higher burden of cancer. Much of my portfolio is nested within populations that have a higher burden of cancer including those with a genetic predisposition, racial and ethnic minorities, and young women. To date, my contributions to the field have primarily been: (1) examining individual health behaviors to inform genomic medicine practices and women's health; (2) investigating physical and social environmental exposures in early-life and the influence on girls' growth and pubertal development; (3) exploring the role of microbial exposures and the immune system in early life and the influence on girls' growth and pubertal development; and (4) assessing the underlying biological mechanisms that intersect at the individual and macro-environment levels.
Co-Director, Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) Program at Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Co-Chair, Evaluation Sub-Committee and Member, Internal Coordinating Committee of the Cancer Disparities Research Network (Region 4 of GMaP)
Areas of Expertise
Longitudinal Studies, Adolescent Health, Breastfeeding, Child Health and Development, Cancer Breast, Chronic Disease, Disparities / Inequalities in Health, Minority Health, Women's Health, Life-course Approach to Prevention, Risk Factors, Environmental Risk Factors, Molecular Epidemiology, Epigenetics, Gene-Environment Interactions, Infectious Disease
McDonald JA, Tehranifar P, Flom JD, Terry MB, James-Todd T. Hair product use, age at menarche and mammographic breast density in multiethnic urban women. Environmental Health. 2018;17(1):1.
Zeinomar N, Thai A, Cloud A, McDonald JA, Liao Y, and Terry MB. Alcohol consumption and breast cancer-specific and all-cause mortality in women diagnosed with breast cancer at the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. PLoS One 2017; 12(2).
Tehranifar P, Wu H-C, McDonald JA, Jasmine F, Santella RM, Gurvich I, JD Flom, Terry MB. Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation in midlife. Epigenetics 2017 May 11:0. Pubmed PMID: 28494218.
Halbert CH, McDonald J, Vadaparampil S, Rice L, Jefferson M (2016) Conducting Precision Medicine Research with African Americans. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0154850. PubMed PMID: 27441706; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4956119.
McDonald, J.A., Eng, S.M., Dina, O.O., Schooling, C.M. and Terry, M.B. Infection and pubertal timing: a systematic review. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2016 Dec 7(6):636-651. PubMed PMID: 27827292.
McDonald JA, Michels KB, Cohn BA, Flom JD, Tehranifar P, Terry MB. Alcohol intake from early adulthood to midlife and mammographic density. Cancer Causes & Control. 2016:27(4);493-502. PubMed PMID: 26830901; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4798860.
Terry M, McDonald JA, Wu H, Eng S, Santella RM. Novel Biomarkers in the Continuum of Breast Cancer. Stearns V, editor. New York, New York: Springer; 2015. Epigenetic Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Risk.
Delgado-Cruzata L, Zhang W, McDonald JA, Tsai WY, Valdovinos C, Falci L, Wang Q, Crew KD, Santella RM, Hershman DL, Greenlee H. Dietary modifications, weight loss, and changes in metabolic markers affect global DNA methylation in Hispanic, african american, and afro-Caribbean breast cancer survivors. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4):783-90. PubMed PMID: 25833781; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4381766.
Quandt Z, Flom JD, Tehranifar P, Reynolds D, Terry MB, McDonald JA. The association of alcohol consumption with mammographic density in a multiethnic urban population. BMC Cancer. 2015;15:1094. PubMed PMID: 25777420; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4374505.
McDonald JA, Weathers B, Barg FK, Troxel AB, Shea JA, Bowen D, Guerra CE, Halbert CH. Donation intentions for cancer genetics research among African Americans. Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2012 Apr;16(4):252-8. PubMed PMID: 22224593; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3326272.