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. 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 Apr; 162:107164. PMID: 35255255.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  2. 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 Apr; 77:102100. PMID: 35033923.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  3. 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.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  4. 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.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  5. 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.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  6. Bosquet Enlow M, Kane-Grade F, De Vivo I, Petty CR, Nelson CA. Corrigendum to "Patterns of change in telomere length over the first three years of life in healthy children" [Psychoneuroendocrinology 115 (2020) 104602]. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2021 Nov; 133:105419. PMID: 34602328.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  7. Aiello A, Accardi G, Aprile S, Caldarella R, Carru C, Ciaccio M, De Vivo I, Gambino CM, Ligotti ME, Vasto S, Zinellu A, Caruso C, Bono F, Candore G. Age and Gender-related Variations of Molecular and Phenotypic Parameters in A Cohort of Sicilian Population: from Young to Centenarians. Aging Dis. 2021 Oct; 12(7):1773-1793. PMID: 34631220.
  8. Reilly CR, Myllymäki M, Redd R, Padmanaban S, Karunakaran D, Tesmer V, Tsai FD, Gibson CJ, Rana HQ, Zhong L, Saber W, Spellman SR, Hu ZH, Orr EH, Chen MM, De Vivo I, DeAngelo DJ, Cutler C, Antin JH, Neuberg D, Garber JE, Nandakumar J, Agarwal S, Lindsley RC. The clinical and functional effects of TERT variants in myelodysplastic syndrome. Blood. 2021 09 09; 138(10):898-911. PMID: 34019641.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
  9. Ruth KS, Day FR, Hussain J, Martínez-Marchal A, Aiken CE, Azad A, Thompson DJ, Knoblochova L, Abe H, Tarry-Adkins JL, Gonzalez JM, Fontanillas P, Claringbould A, Bakker OB, Sulem P, Walters RG, Terao C, Turon S, Horikoshi M, Lin K, Onland-Moret NC, Sankar A, Hertz EPT, Timshel PN, Shukla V, Borup R, Olsen KW, Aguilera P, Ferrer-Roda M, Huang Y, Stankovic S, Timmers PRHJ, Ahearn TU, Alizadeh BZ, Naderi E, Andrulis IL, Arnold AM, Aronson KJ, Augustinsson A, Bandinelli S, Barbieri CM, Beaumont RN, Becher H, Beckmann MW, Benonisdottir S, Bergmann S, Bochud M, Boerwinkle E, Bojesen SE, Bolla MK, Boomsma DI, Bowker N, Brody JA, Broer L, Buring JE, Campbell A, Campbell H, Castelao JE, Catamo E, Chanock SJ, Chenevix-Trench G, Ciullo M, Corre T, Couch FJ, Cox A, Crisponi L, Cross SS, Cucca F, Czene K, Smith GD, de Geus EJCN, de Mutsert R, De Vivo I, Demerath EW, Dennis J, Dunning AM, Dwek M, Eriksson M, Esko T, Fasching PA, Faul JD, Ferrucci L, Franceschini N, Frayling TM, Gago-Dominguez M, Mezzavilla M, García-Closas M, Gieger C, Giles GG, Grallert H, Gudbjartsson DF, Gudnason V, Guénel P, Haiman CA, Håkansson N, Hall P, Hayward C, He C, He W, Heiss G, Høffding MK, Hopper JL, Hottenga JJ, Hu F, Hunter D, Ikram MA, Jackson RD, Joaquim MDR, John EM, Joshi PK, Karasik D, Kardia SLR, Kartsonaki C, Karlsson R, Kitahara CM, Kolcic I, Kooperberg C, Kraft P, Kurian AW, Kutalik Z, La Bianca M, LaChance G, Langenberg C, Launer LJ, Laven JSE, Lawlor DA, Le Marchand L, Li J, Lindblom A, Lindstrom S, Lindstrom T, Linet M, Liu Y, Liu S, Luan J, Mägi R, Magnusson PKE, Mangino M, Mannermaa A, Marco B, Marten J, Martin NG, Mbarek H, McKnight B, Medland SE, Meisinger C, Meitinger T, Menni C, Metspalu A, Milani L, Milne RL, Montgomery GW, Mook-Kanamori DO, Mulas A, Mulligan AM, Murray A, Nalls MA, Newman A, Noordam R, Nutile T, Nyholt DR, Olshan AF, Olsson H, Painter JN, Patel AV, Pedersen NL, Perjakova N, Peters A, Peters U, Pharoah PDP, Polasek O, Porcu E, Psaty BM, Rahman I, Rennert G, Rennert HS, Ridker PM, Ring SM, Robino A, Rose LM, Rosendaal FR, Rossouw J, Rudan I, Rueedi R, Ruggiero D, Sala CF, Saloustros E, Sandler DP, Sanna S, Sawyer EJ, Sarnowski C, Schlessinger D, Schmidt MK, Schoemaker MJ, Schraut KE, Scott C, Shekari S, Shrikhande A, Smith AV, Smith BH, Smith JA, Sorice R, Southey MC, Spector TD, Spinelli JJ, Stampfer M, Stöckl D, van Meurs JBJ, Strauch K, Styrkarsdottir U, Swerdlow AJ, Tanaka T, Teras LR, Teumer A, Þorsteinsdottir U, Timpson NJ, Toniolo D, Traglia M, Troester MA, Truong T, Tyrrell J, Uitterlinden AG, Ulivi S, Vachon CM, Vitart V, Völker U, Vollenweider P, Völzke H, Wang Q, Wareham NJ, Weinberg CR, Weir DR, Wilcox AN, van Dijk KW, Willemsen G, Wilson JF, Wolffenbuttel BHR, Wolk A, Wood AR, Zhao W, Zygmunt M, Chen Z, Li L, Franke L, Burgess S, Deelen P, Pers TH, Grøndahl ML, Andersen CY, Pujol A, Lopez-Contreras AJ, Daniel JA, Stefansson K, Chang-Claude J, van der Schouw YT, Lunetta KL, Chasman DI, Easton DF, Visser JA, Ozanne SE, Namekawa SH, Solc P, Murabito JM, Ong KK, Hoffmann ER, Murray A, Roig I, Perry JRB. Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing. Nature. 2021 08; 596(7872):393-397. PMID: 34349265.
    Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
  10. Moore A, Machiela MJ, Machado M, Wang SS, Kane E, Slager SL, Zhou W, Carrington M, Lan Q, Milne RL, Birmann BM, Adami HO, Albanes D, Arslan AA, Becker N, Benavente Y, Bisanzi S, Boffetta P, Bracci PM, Brennan P, Brooks-Wilson AR, Canzian F, Caporaso N, Clavel J, Cocco P, Conde L, Cox DG, Cozen W, Curtin K, De Vivo I, de Sanjose S, Foretova L, Gapstur SM, Ghesquières H, Giles GG, Glenn M, Glimelius B, Gao C, Habermann TM, Hjalgrim H, Jackson RD, Liebow M, Link BK, Maynadie M, McKay J, Melbye M, Miligi L, Molina TJ, Monnereau A, Nieters A, North KE, Offit K, Patel AV, Piro S, Ravichandran V, Riboli E, Salles G, Severson RK, Skibola CF, Smedby KE, Southey MC, Spinelli JJ, Staines A, Stewart C, Teras LR, Tinker LF, Travis RC, Vajdic CM, Vermeulen RCH, Vijai J, Weiderpass E, Weinstein S, Doo NW, Zhang Y, Zheng T, Chanock SJ, Rothman N, Cerhan JR, Dean M, Camp NJ, Yeager M, Berndt SI. Genome-wide homozygosity and risk of four non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes. J Transl Genet Genom. 2021; 5:200-217. PMID: 34622145.
  11. Vyas CM, Ogata S, Reynolds CF, Mischoulon D, Chang G, Cook NR, Manson JE, Crous-Bou M, De Vivo I, Okereke OI. Telomere length and its relationships with lifestyle and behavioural factors: variations by sex and race/ethnicity. Age Ageing. 2021 05 05; 50(3):838-846. PMID: 33001148.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  12. Zhu J, O'Mara TA, Liu D, Setiawan VW, Glubb D, Spurdle AB, Fasching PA, Lambrechts D, Buchanan D, Kho PF, Cook LS, Friedenreich C, Lacey JV, Chen C, Wentzensen N, De Vivo I, Sun Y, Long J, Du M, Shu XO, Zheng W, Wu L, Yu H. Associations between Genetically Predicted Circulating Protein Concentrations and Endometrial Cancer Risk. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Apr 26; 13(9). PMID: 33925895.
    Citations: 2     
  13. Watkins JC, Downing MJ, Crous-Bou M, Busch EL, Chen M, De Vivo I, Mutter GL. Endometrial Tumor Classification by Histomorphology and Biomarkers in the Nurses' Health Study. J Cancer Epidemiol. 2021; 2021:8884364. PMID: 33986807.
  14. Belfort MB, Qureshi F, Litt J, Enlow MB, De Vivo I, Gregory K, Tiemeier H. Telomere length shortening in hospitalized preterm infants: A pilot study. PLoS One. 2021; 16(1):e0243468. PMID: 33471805.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  15. Souza KM, De Vivo I, Chen CY, Nogueira FR, Aun AG, Arruda NM, Lara JR, Silva MAP, Figueiredo DBS, Corrêa CR, de Carvalho LR, Braz JRC, Braz LG, Braz MG. Oxidative stress, DNA damage, inflammation and gene expression in occupationally exposed university hospital anesthesia providers. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2021 02; 62(2):155-164. PMID: 33341964.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
  16. Chung M, Ruan M, Zhao N, Koestler DC, De Vivo I, Kelsey KT, Michaud DS. DNA methylation ageing clocks and pancreatic cancer risk: pooled analysis of three prospective nested case-control studies. Epigenetics. 2021 12; 16(12):1306-1316. PMID: 33315530.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  17. Lee HH, Okuzono SS, Kim ES, De Vivo I, Raffield LM, Glover L, Sims M, Grodstein F, Kubzansky LD. Optimism and telomere length among African American adults in the Jackson Heart Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2021 03; 125:105124. PMID: 33434830.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  18. Myllymäki M, Redd R, Reilly CR, Saber W, Spellman SR, Gibson CJ, Hu ZH, Wang T, Orr EH, Grenier JG, Chen MM, Steensma DP, Cutler C, De Vivo I, Antin JH, Neuberg D, Agarwal S, Lindsley RC. Short telomere length predicts nonrelapse mortality after stem cell transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome. Blood. 2020 12 24; 136(26):3070-3081. PMID: 33367544.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsCTClinical Trials
  19. Jordan SJ, Na R, Weiderpass E, Adami HO, Anderson KE, van den Brandt PA, Brinton LA, Chen C, Cook LS, Doherty JA, Du M, Friedenreich CM, Gierach GL, Goodman MT, Krogh V, Levi F, Lu L, Miller AB, McCann SE, Moysich KB, Negri E, Olson SH, Petruzella S, Palmer JR, Parazzini F, Pike MC, Prizment AE, Rebbeck TR, Reynolds P, Ricceri F, Risch HA, Rohan TE, Sacerdote C, Schouten LJ, Serraino D, Setiawan VW, Shu XO, Sponholtz TR, Spurdle AB, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Trabert B, Wentzensen N, Wilkens LR, Wise LA, Yu H, La Vecchia C, De Vivo I, Xu W, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Webb PM. Pregnancy outcomes and risk of endometrial cancer: A pooled analysis of individual participant data in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. Int J Cancer. 2021 05 01; 148(9):2068-2078. PMID: 33105052.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  20. Canudas S, Becerra-Tomás N, Hernández-Alonso P, Galié S, Leung C, Crous-Bou M, De Vivo I, Gao Y, Gu Y, Meinilä J, Milte C, García-Calzón S, Marti A, Boccardi V, Ventura-Marra M, Salas-Salvadó J. Mediterranean Diet and Telomere Length: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2020 11 16; 11(6):1544-1554. PMID: 32730558.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  21. Glubb DM, Thompson DJ, Aben KKH, Alsulimani A, Amant F, Annibali D, Attia J, Barricarte A, Beckmann MW, Berchuck A, Bermisheva M, Bernardini MQ, Bischof K, Bjorge L, Bodelon C, Brand AH, Brenton JD, Brinton LA, Bruinsma F, Buchanan DD, Burghaus S, Butzow R, Cai H, Carney ME, Chanock SJ, Chen C, Chen XQ, Chen Z, Cook LS, Cunningham JM, De Vivo I, deFazio A, Doherty JA, Dörk T, du Bois A, Dunning AM, Dürst M, Edwards T, Edwards RP, Ekici AB, Ewing A, Fasching PA, Ferguson S, Flanagan JM, Fostira F, Fountzilas G, Friedenreich CM, Gao B, Gaudet MM, Gawelko J, Gentry-Maharaj A, Giles GG, Glasspool R, Goodman MT, Gronwald J, Harris HR, Harter P, Hein A, Heitz F, Hildebrandt MAT, Hillemanns P, Høgdall E, Høgdall CK, Holliday EG, Huntsman DG, Huzarski T, Jakubowska A, Jensen A, Jones ME, Karlan BY, Karnezis A, Kelley JL, Khusnutdinova E, Killeen JL, Kjaer SK, Klapdor R, Köbel M, Konopka B, Konstantopoulou I, Kopperud RK, Koti M, Kraft P, Kupryjanczyk J, Lambrechts D, Larson MC, Le Marchand L, Lele S, Lester J, Li AJ, Liang D, Liebrich C, Lipworth L, Lissowska J, Lu L, Lu KH, Macciotta A, Mattiello A, May T, McAlpine JN, McGuire V, McNeish IA, Menon U, Modugno F, Moysich KB, Nevanlinna H, Odunsi K, Olsson H, Orsulic S, Osorio A, Palli D, Park-Simon TW, Pearce CL, Pejovic T, Permuth JB, Podgorska A, Ramus SJ, Rebbeck TR, Riggan MJ, Risch HA, Rothstein JH, Runnebaum IB, Scott RJ, Sellers TA, Senz J, Setiawan VW, Siddiqui N, Sieh W, Spiewankiewicz B, Sutphen R, Swerdlow AJ, Szafron LM, Teo SH, Thompson PJ, Thomsen LCV, Titus L, Tone A, Tumino R, Turman C, Vanderstichele A, Edwards DV, Vergote I, Vierkant RA, Wang Z, Wang-Gohrke S, Webb PM, White E, Whittemore AS, Winham SJ, Wu X, Wu AH, Yannoukakos D, Spurdle AB, O'Mara TA. Cross-Cancer Genome-Wide Association Study of Endometrial Cancer and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Identifies Genetic Risk Regions Associated with Risk of Both Cancers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 01; 30(1):217-228. PMID: 33144283.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  22. Myllymäki M, Redd RA, Reilly CR, Saber W, Spellman S, Gibson CJ, Hu ZH, Wang T, Orr EH, Grenier JG, Chen MM, Steensma DP, Cutler C, De Vivo I, Antin JH, Neuberg D, Agarwal S, Lindsley RC. Short Telomere Length Predicts Non-Relapse Mortality after Stem Cell Transplantation for Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Blood. 2020 Aug 17. PMID: 32808013.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  23. Vyas CM, Ogata S, Reynolds CF, Mischoulon D, Chang G, Cook NR, Manson JE, Crous-Bou M, De Vivo I, Okereke OI. Lifestyle and behavioral factors and mitochondrial DNA copy number in a diverse cohort of mid-life and older adults. PLoS One. 2020; 15(8):e0237235. PMID: 32785256.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  24. Kho PF, Amant F, Annibali D, Ashton K, Attia J, Auer PL, Beckmann MW, Black A, Brinton L, Buchanan DD, Chanock SJ, Chen C, Chen MM, Cheng THT, Cook LS, Crous-Bous M, Czene K, De Vivo I, Dennis J, Dörk T, Dowdy SC, Dunning AM, Dürst M, Easton DF, Ekici AB, Fasching PA, Fridley BL, Friedenreich CM, García-Closas M, Gaudet MM, Giles GG, Goode EL, Gorman M, Haiman CA, Hall P, Hankinson SE, Hein A, Hillemanns P, Hodgson S, Hoivik EA, Holliday EG, Hunter DJ, Jones A, Kraft P, Krakstad C, Lambrechts D, Le Marchand L, Liang X, Lindblom A, Lissowska J, Long J, Lu L, Magliocco AM, Martin L, McEvoy M, Milne RL, Mints M, Nassir R, Otton G, Palles C, Pooler L, Proietto T, Rebbeck TR, Renner SP, Risch HA, Rübner M, Runnebaum I, Sacerdote C, Sarto GE, Schumacher F, Scott RJ, Setiawan VW, Shah M, Sheng X, Shu XO, Southey MC, Tham E, Tomlinson I, Trovik J, Turman C, Tyrer JP, Van Den Berg D, Wang Z, Wentzensen N, Xia L, Xiang YB, Yang HP, Yu H, Zheng W, Webb PM, Thompson DJ, Spurdle AB, Glubb DM, O'Mara TA. Mendelian randomization analyses suggest a role for cholesterol in the development of endometrial cancer. Int J Cancer. 2021 01 15; 148(2):307-319. PMID: 32851660.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  25. Yang K, Forman MR, Monahan PO, Graham BH, Chan AT, Zhang X, De Vivo I, Giovannucci EL, Tabung FK, Nan H. Insulinemic Potential of Lifestyle Is Inversely Associated with Leukocyte Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number in US White Adults. J Nutr. 2020 08 01; 150(8):2156-2163. PMID: 32492151.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Huma