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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Kala Visvanathan, MB, BS, FRACP, MHS

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Oncology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Maryland

Current Research

Dr. Visvanathan and colleagues are interested in the relationship between inflammation, immune response and breast cancer in women with BRCA 1/2 mutations or a strong family history of breast cancer, as well as other high-risk women in the general population. The group is also studying the short and long term effects of the removal of the ovaries, a common preventive procedure for women with a high risk of breast cancer, on multiple health outcomes (such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, body measurement changes and weight gain). Her team is currently analyzing data from their pilot study examining how ovary removal affects the overall health of women who underwent this procedure.


Kala Visvanathan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Department of Medical Oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Visvanathan is Director the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service and the Cancer Epidemiology Track at Johns Hopkins.

She received her medical degree from the University of Sydney in Australia.  She subsequently went on to complete her training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, an academic teaching hospital of the University of Sydney in Australia and at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Johns Hopkins School of Mediine. Dr. Visvanathan also completed training in clinical/cancer epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Her research is focused on primary and secondary prevention of breast and ovarian cancer. Trained as a medical oncologist and cancer epidemiologist, a large part of her research is transdisciplinary and focused on translating results from the laboratory to populations, to identify at risk groups, preventable targets and to evaluate agents that have the potential to impact the natural history of breast and ovarian cancer. She conducts both observational studies and clinical prevention/early detection studies Specific exposures of interest include hormonal exposures, inflammation, genetic and epigenetic changes, DNA damage/repair, obesity and oxidative damage. She has recently co-chaired the American Society of Clinical Oncology national guideline on breast cancer risk reduction.