Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Immaculata De Vivo, Ph.D.

Other Positions

1991 - 1993
National Cancer Institute Research Fellowship
Scholarship Award for Excellence in Academic Work
Award for Academic Excellence
1995 - 1997
Stanford Immunology Department Fellowship Competititve Award
2000 - 2002
American Cancer Society Faculty Award
2002 - 2008
American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
2006 - 2007
Award for Excellence in Teaching
2006 - 2007
Recognized as one of the top nine U.S. female scientists in cancer research

My research focus is to understand mechanisms of carcinogenesis and to establish association with disease for future prevention. My research base is the Nurses’ Health Study, where 33,000 germline DNA samples are available for determining inherited genetic susceptibility to cancer and other chronic diseases. I have introduced modern high-throughput genotyping methods in order to build the capacity to handle larger numbers of samples per day, implemented standard molecular biological techniques, such as cloning, RT-PCR, Western blotting, and assays to assess transcriptional effects and more recently whole genome amplification technique that will provide sufficiently robust amplification of limiting samples of genomic DNA that can be used for a variety of applications and statistically inferring population haplotypes. Some of my current projects include studying polymorphisms in hormone-metabolizing genes in endometrial and breast cancer. Findings from these studies have led to domestic collaborations with human geneticists Dr. David Housman at MIT, Dr. Cynthia Morton at BWH, clinicians, Dr. Daniel Cramer at BWH, George Mutter at HMS; and two international collaborations, Dr. Hans Olov-Adami at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and Dr. Georgia Chenevix-Trench at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

Following my findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2002, that a variation in the promoter region of the human progesterone receptor (hPR) gene increases the risk of endometrial cancer, subsequent studies in my laboratory have found this same association with other types of hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer. These risks are often modified by environmental factors such as obesity.

I am the primary instructor for Epi249a, “Molecular Biology for Epidemiologists,” a graduate-level course (approx. 30 students) that teaches the fundamental concepts of molecular biology. I assist in the direction of the Molecular Epidemiology laboratory at the Harvard School of Public Health (I supervise a laboratory manager and 3 research assistants) and direct my molecular biology laboratory housed in the ERBC at 221 Longwood Ave (research assistant, doctoral student and a masters student). I mentor 12 students (masters, doctoral and postdoctoral) and fellows on their research projects at Channing Laboratory and at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Rodríguez-Fernández B, Vilor-Tejedor N, Arenaza-Urquijo EM, Sánchez-Benavides G, Suárez-Calvet M, Operto G, Minguillón C, Fauria K, Kollmorgen G, Suridjan I, de Moura MC, Piñeyro D, Esteller M, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, De Vivo I, Molinuevo JL, Navarro A, Gispert JD, Sala-Vila A, Crous-Bou M. Genetically predicted telomere length and Alzheimer's disease endophenotypes: a Mendelian randomization study. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2022 Nov 07; 14(1):167. PMID: 36345036; PMCID: PMC9641781.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  2. Berndt SI, Vijai J, Benavente Y, Camp NJ, Nieters A, Wang Z, Smedby KE, Kleinstern G, Hjalgrim H, Besson C, Skibola CF, Morton LM, Brooks-Wilson AR, Teras LR, Breeze C, Arias J, Adami HO, Albanes D, Anderson KC, Ansell SM, Bassig B, Becker N, Bhatti P, Birmann BM, Boffetta P, Bracci PM, Brennan P, Brown EE, Burdett L, Cannon-Albright LA, Chang ET, Chiu BCH, Chung CC, Clavel J, Cocco P, Colditz G, Conde L, Conti DV, Cox DG, Curtin K, Casabonne D, De Vivo I, Diver WR, Dogan A, Edlund CK, Foretova L, Fraumeni JF, Gabbas A, Ghesquières H, Giles GG, Glaser S, Glenn M, Glimelius B, Gu J, Habermann TM, Haiman CA, Haioun C, Hofmann JN, Holford TR, Holly EA, Hutchinson A, Izhar A, Jackson RD, Jarrett RF, Kaaks R, Kane E, Kolonel LN, Kong Y, Kraft P, Kricker A, Lake A, Lan Q, Lawrence C, Li D, Liebow M, Link BK, Magnani C, Maynadie M, McKay J, Melbye M, Miligi L, Milne RL, Molina TJ, Monnereau A, Montalvan R, North KE, Novak AJ, Onel K, Purdue MP, Rand KA, Riboli E, Riby J, Roman E, Salles G, Sborov DW, Severson RK, Shanafelt TD, Smith MT, Smith A, Song KW, Song L, Southey MC, Spinelli JJ, Staines A, Stephens D, Sutherland HJ, Tkachuk K, Thompson CA, Tilly H, Tinker LF, Travis RC, Turner J, Vachon CM, Vajdic CM, Van Den Berg A, Van Den Berg DJ, Vermeulen RCH, Vineis P, Wang SS, Weiderpass E, Weiner GJ, Weinstein S, Doo NW, Ye Y, Yeager M, Yu K, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zhang Y, Zheng T, Ziv E, Sampson J, Chatterjee N, Offit K, Cozen W, Wu X, Cerhan JR, Chanock SJ, Slager SL, Rothman N. Distinct germline genetic susceptibility profiles identified for common non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes. Leukemia. 2022 Oct 22. PMID: 36273105.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  3. Watkins SH, Ho K, Testa C, Falk L, Soule P, Nguyen LV, FitzGibbon S, Slack C, Chen JT, Davey Smith G, De Vivo I, Simpkin AJ, Tilling K, Waterman PD, Krieger N, Suderman M, Relton C. The impact of low input DNA on the reliability of DNA methylation as measured by the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. Epigenetics. 2022 Dec; 17(13):2366-2376. PMID: 36239035; PMCID: PMC9665153.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  4. Wang C, Alfano R, Reimann B, Hogervorst J, Bustamante M, De Vivo I, Plusquin M, Nawrot TS, Martens DS. Genetic regulation of newborn telomere length is mediated and modified by DNA methylation. Front Genet. 2022; 13:934277. PMID: 36267401; PMCID: PMC9576874.
  5. Seo B, Yang K, Kahe K, Qureshi AA, Chan AT, De Vivo I, Cho E, Giovannucci EL, Nan H. Association of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intake with leukocyte telomere length in US males. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Sep 20. PMID: 36130216.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  6. Crous-Bou M, Du M, Gunter MJ, Setiawan VW, Schouten LJ, Shu XO, Wentzensen N, Bertrand KA, Cook LS, Friedenreich CM, Gapstur SM, Goodman MT, Ibiebele TI, La Vecchia C, Levi F, Liao LM, Negri E, McCann SE, O'Connell K, Palmer JR, Patel AV, Ponte J, Reynolds P, Sacerdote C, Sinha R, Spurdle AB, Trabert B, van den Brandt PA, Webb PM, Petruzella S, Olson SH, De Vivo I. Coffee consumption and risk of endometrial cancer: a pooled analysis of individual participant data in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2). Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Aug 30. PMID: 36041172; PMCID: PMC9630862.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  7. Accardi G, Bono F, Cammarata G, Aiello A, Herrero MT, Alessandro R, Augello G, Carru C, Colomba P, Costa MA, De Vivo I, Ligotti ME, Lo Curto A, Passantino R, Taverna S, Zizzo C, Duro G, Caruso C, Candore G. miR-126-3p and miR-21-5p as Hallmarks of Bio-Positive Ageing; Correlation Analysis and Machine Learning Prediction in Young to Ultra-Centenarian Sicilian Population. Cells. 2022 04 30; 11(9). PMID: 35563810; PMCID: PMC9099697.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  8. Iyer HS, Hart JE, James P, Elliott EG, DeVille NV, Holmes MD, De Vivo I, Mucci LA, Laden F, Rebbeck TR. Impact of neighborhood socioeconomic status, income segregation, and greenness on blood biomarkers of inflammation. Environ Int. 2022 04; 162:107164. PMID: 35255255; PMCID: PMC8985077.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  9. Yang K, Prescott J, Hazra A, Meyerhardt JA, Zhang X, De Vivo I, Chan AT, Du M, Giovannucci EL, Nan H. Pre-diagnostic telomere length and colorectal cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol. 2022 04; 77:102100. PMID: 35033923; PMCID: PMC8923959.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  10. Shi J, Swanson SA, Kraft P, Rosner B, De Vivo I, Hernán MA. Mendelian Randomization With Repeated Measures of a Time-varying Exposure: An Application of Structural Mean Models. Epidemiology. 2022 01 01; 33(1):84-94. PMID: 34847085; PMCID: PMC9067358.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  11. Shi J, Swanson SA, Kraft P, Rosner B, De Vivo I, Hernán MA. Instrumental variable estimation for a time-varying treatment and a time-to-event outcome via structural nested cumulative failure time models. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2021 11 25; 21(1):258. PMID: 34823502; PMCID: PMC8620657.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  12. Liu JJ, De Vivo I, Wu CY, Giovannucci E. Subsequent primary urogenital cancers among childhood and adolescent cancer survivors in the United States. Urol Oncol. 2022 02; 40(2):65.e11-65.e18. PMID: 34810078.