Leena Hilakivi-Clarke

Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center;Department of Oncology;Georgetown University, USA

Leena Hilakivi-Clarke is a Professor of oncology and a Codirector of the Division of Molecular Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Obesity at Georgetown University Medical Center. She earned her B.A. degree in 1982, M.A. degree in 1983, and Ph.D. degree in 1987 from Medical School, University of Helsinki, Finland, in experimental psychology, with minors in physiology and in biology, physics and chemistry from Abo Academy. She was a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, in 1987–1990, and was appointed as a Research Associate Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center in 1991. She has remained at Georgetown University ever since, where she is also a Director of the Nutrition, Genes and Cancer U54 program project funded by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hilakivi-Clarke has shown that hormonal and dietary exposures at developmental periods when the mammary gland is undergoing extensive growth, in utero during childhood and pregnancy, alter the susceptibility to develop breast cancer in adult life. She believes in the power of translational research, and therefore uses animal models and also performs studies in human populations. Her particular interest is to understand the mechanisms that lead to increases in breast cancer risk following exposures during early life or pregnancy, and thus she is focusing on studying the role of alterations in gene expression and mammary gland morphology. One of the challenges is to determine which of the changes in gene and protein expression are due to epigenetic modifications, and which mammary structure or cell type is the main target of the changes. Dr. Hilakivi-Clarke has published more than 120 journal articles and book chapters, and she has served on study sections for the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and several others. She also serves on advisory boards for Program Projects at two universities in the USA.

Biography Updated on 12 July 2007

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