Biostatistics & Epidemiology

Faculty Profile

  • Adana Llanos, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor

  • Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

  • CV

Keywords
Molecular epidemiology; cancer epidemiology; genetics; epigenetics; biomarkers; disparities; health equity; population health; sociobiological mechanisms; breast cancer; adipokines; energy balance; Cancer in populations of African ancestry; Caribbean.

Biography
Dr. Llanos has a PhD in Genetics and Human Genetics from Howard University (2009) and a MPH in Epidemiology from the Ohio State University (2013). From 2009-2011, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University (joint program in Carcinogenesis, Biomarkers and Epidemiology, and Minority Health and Health Disparities); from 2011-2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the NCI-funded Center for Population Health and Health Disparities at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Research Interests
Dr. Llanos is a molecular epidemiologist, with training and expertise in population health and cancer health disparities. Her primary area of research focuses on understanding the molecular factors (epigenetic, genetic/genomic, proteomic) and sociobiologic mechanisms (integration of social determinants of health, biomarkers, and biological pathways) that cause cancer disparities. An additional area of her research focuses on cancer epidemiology and surveillance in the Caribbean region, particularly Trinidad and Tobago. Since joining the faculty at Rutgers School of Public Health and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Dr. Llanos has focused on establishing a productive research program that integrates molecular- and population-based studies, with an ultimate goal addressing gaps in knowledge and working towards reducing cancer disparities and achieving health equity. Dr. Llanos’ research program seeks to address cancer outcomes disparities, through collaborative studies that center on cancers that disproportionately affect minority and medically underserved populations. As recognition of cancer disparities has grown, efforts to move beyond simply documenting the issues and moving towards understanding causes and developing impactful interventions have also grown. Dr. Llanos’ work in this topical area has contributed to an important national and international agenda. Given the expected growth in the incidence of cancer, population-based research offers important opportunities to improve public health, through developing and testing evidence-based strategies to promote improved cancer prevention and control, here in the United States (US) and globally. This is an area that allows Dr. Llanos to leverage her training and expertise in genetics, molecular epidemiology, population sciences, health disparities, and public health for the greatest impact. She has established a productive research collaboration with investigators at institutions in the US and in Trinidad and Tobago (TT), with the strategic goal of studying cancer and contributing to efforts to reduce the cancer burden in TT and elsewhere in the Caribbean. As the number of cancers diagnosed in the Caribbean increases, as well as the numbers of immigrants to the US coming from the Caribbean increases, it is essential to increase cancer epidemiology knowledge in the Caribbean, which will be of value in formulating clinical and translational research and cancer prevention and control efforts in the Caribbean and the US as well.

Research Highlights

Dr. Llanos is currently funded by the National Cancer Institute through a mentored career development award (K01 CA193527 – 08/2015-01/2021), which focuses on the molecular epidemiology of breast cancer and understanding the associations of adipokines and adipokine receptors with breast cancer clinicopathological factors, which she hypothesizes, contribute to breast cancer outcomes disparities. Additionally, Dr. Llanos recently launched the first ever epidemiology study of breast cancer in Tobago, in collaboration with investigators at Washington University School of Medicine and the Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development at the Tobago House of Assembly.

Select Publications
A complete list of the published work in Dr. Llanos’ bibliography can be found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/browse/collection/42708552/Adana+Llanos

Awards
Delta Omega - Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health (2018) - Alpha Eta Chapter

Excellence in Research Award - New Jersey Health Foundation (2018) - Excellence in Research Awards to recognize outstanding research activities.

Minority Faculty Scholar Award - American Association for Cancer Research (2018) - The purposes of this award program are to increase the scientific knowledge base of minority faculty members and faculty members at minority-serving institutions, and to encourage them and their students to pursue careers in cancer research.

Excellence in Teaching Award - New Jersey Health Foundation (2017) - Excellence in Teaching Awards to recognize outstanding teaching activities.

Early Career Cancer Health Disparities Travel Scholarship - Cancer Disparities Research Network (2016) - The Early Career Travel Scholarship Program is intended to support regional scholars and investigators in career development opportunities related to cancer health disparities research and cancer research.

Buckeyes under 40 Award - The Ohio State University Black Alumni Society (2016) - The Under 40 Awards aim to provide a glimpse of the tremendous potential in our Black alumni by finding often unrecognized young talent doing remarkable things.

Social Media & Websites
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey: https://www.cinj.org/researcher-profiles?id=721
Research With Rutgers: https://www.researchwithrutgers.com/en/persons/adana-llanos-wilson