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Kala Visvanathan, MD

Director of the Cancer Epidemiology Track, Department of Epidemiology

Director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service

Member of the Cancer Prevention & Control Program and the Breast and Ovarian Program, JH Kimmel Cancer Center

Associate Professor

Departmental Affiliation(s):

Division: Cancer Epidemiology

Center & Institute Affiliation(s):

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E6142
Baltimore , Maryland   21205

410-614 -1112
410 614 2632


MD , University of Sydney , 1989
MHS , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , 1998
FRACP , 1996


Dr Visvanathan is a cancer epidemiologist and a medical oncologist who conducts epidemiological research focused on reducing breast and ovarian cancer incidence and mortality. Specifically she is interested in understanding the underlying etiology of these diseases, genetic and environmental risk factors and implementing early detection and preventive strategies to women  in the general and high-risk population.


Her research areas of interest include: 


  • The evaluation of non-toxic inexpensive agents for breast and ovarian cancer prevention

  • Evaluating the short and long term effects of oophorectomy, an established preventive strategy

  • Identifying novel breast cancer risk factors to improve breast cancer risk stratification 

  • Molecular Characterization of precursor lesions of breast and ovarian cancer as a target for prevention 

  • The conduct of early detection and prevention clinical studies 




Honors and Awards

1999 AACR-Glaxo Welcome Oncology Scholar Award for Clinical/Translational Research

2001 First Prize in Clinical section John’s Hopkins Fellow Research Day 2004 -2005

JHU Breast SPORE Career Development Award

2005 ASCO Career Development Award 2005

K07 Preventive Oncology Award

cancer epidemiology,cancer prevention, etiology, early detection, risk assessment, genetics, chemoprevention,  breast and ovarian cancer, biomarkers,

  • Selected Publications

  • Visvanathan K., Santor D., Ali S.Z., Brewster A., Arnold A,. Armstrong D.K., Davidson N.E., and Helzlsouer K.J. The reliability of nipple aspirate and ductal lavage in women at increased risk for breast cancer – a potential tool for breast cancer risk assessment and biomarker evaluation CEBP 2007, 16(5):950-5

  • Cornblatt BS, Ye L, Dinkova-Kostova AT, Erb M, Fahey JW, Singh NK, Chen MS, Stierer T, Garrett-Meyer E, Argani P, Davidson NE, Talalay P, Kensler TW, Visvanathan K. Preclinical and Clinical Evaluation of Sulforaphane for Chemoprevention in the Breast. Carcinogenesis. 2007,1485-90.

  • Berrington de Gonzalez A, Berg CD, Visvanathan K, Robson M. Estimated risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from mammographic screening for young BRCA mutation carriers JNCI 2009,101(3) 205-9.

  • Jorgensen TJ, Helzlsouer KJ, Clipp SC, Bolton JH, Crum RM, Visvanathan K. CEBP 2009;18:346-350.