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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 cancer epidemiologist and a medical oncologist who conducts epidemiological research focused on reducing breast and ovarian cancer incidence and mortality.

Her primary research is focused on the primary and secondary prevention of breast and ovarian cancer through the identification of at risk groups, early detection strategies and the use of preventive agents. Specific areas of interest include: 1) biomarkers for of inflammation, immune status, DNA alterations, obesity, methylation and vitamin D for risk stratification, 2) biomarkers of disease progression (i.e precursor lesions, methylation etc), and 3) evaluation of risk reduction strategies (i.e oophorectomy, hormonal prevention, sulforaphane, statins, beta-blockers, aspirin, and NSAID.

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

2005 ASCO Career Development Award 2005

2012, 2014 Teaching Excellence Award among faculty at JHSPH for Cancer Methods Course

2017 Inducted into Delta Omega Honorary society for public health

  • 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.

  • ARIC Cancer
  • Assessing Economic Burden among MSM in the MACS