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Kala Visvanathan, MD

  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

  • Epidemiology (Primary)
    • Division: Cancer Epidemiology
  • School of Medicine (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E6142
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

410 614 2632

View Current Courses


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


Dr. Visvanathan is a physician-scientist. She is a translational epidemiologist focused on cancer and a medical oncologist. Dr. Visvanathan is Director of the Cancer Epidemiology Track, in the Department of Epidemiology at JHBSPH and Director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service at the JH Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. In addition, she is a member of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program and Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Cancer Center.

Dr. Visvanathan and her team conduct both observational and clinical trials focused on primary and secondary prevention of breast and ovarian cancer. Her research interests include: 1) improving risk stratification through the identification of breast cancer risk factors/biomarkers involved in inflammation, DNA repair, obesity, methylation, and vitamin D, 2) molecular characterization of breast and ovarian precursor tissue lesions as a target for prevention, 3) evaluating risk reduction strategies for breast and ovarian cancer (i.e oophorectomy, hormonal prevention, sulforaphane, statins, aspirins and non-toxic preventive agents.

Dr. Visvanathan is an active member of multiple national working groups including the NCI Cohort Consortium, NCCN Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Guideline Committee, ECOG Breast Committee, and NRG co-operative trials Prev/Epi/Beh Committee. Dr. Visvanathan has previously co-chaired a national guideline on breast cancer chemoprevention and a working group on incorporating observational research into guidelines. She currently serves on the Maryland State Cancer Council and chairs the advisory board of the Maryland Cancer Registry.

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

2005 ASCO Career Development Award

2012, 2014, 2018, 2019 JHSPH Teaching Excellence Award

2017 Inducted into Delta Omega Honorary society for Public Health

  • cancer epidemiology
  • cancer prevention
  • etiology
  • early detection
  • risk assessment
  • genetics
  • chemoprevention
  •   breast cancer
  • biomarkers of risk and prognosis, repurposing medications, ovarian cancer, modifiable risk factors, statins, aspirin
  • ARIC Cancer
  • Assessing Economic Burden among MSM in the MACS
  • CLUE 1& II Population Based Cohort
  • Evaluating Breast and Ovarian cancer Outcomes in a National Finnish Database