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Faculty & Staff Honors

Louisville: Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Associations Between Green Spaces and Breast Cancer Risk

Can living in a “greener” area lower your risk for breast cancer? The Boston Mammography Cohort Study aims to answer this question, and University of Louisville School of  Public Health and Information Sciences faculty Dr. Natalie Dupré, has received a $50,000 grant from the Jewish Heritage Foundation for Excellence Fund to contribute.

Dr. Dupré, who teaches epidemiology methods courses for the Master of Public Health program, has dedicated her career to understanding the ways in which environmental factors affect cancer development and progression.

Throughout the course of eight years (2006-2014), a diverse group of women consented to be a part of the study, receiving mammograms from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as part of the process. Researchers have studied the ways in which body mass index, race and ethnicity, child-bearing, menopause, and many other factors impact the risk for developing breast cancer; now, researchers are widening the scope to include the environment.

“The environmental factor that we will focus on here is residential ‘greenness,’ which is the amount of natural vegetation that surrounds one’s home that is measured by satellites orbiting the Earth,” said Dr. Dupré. “A couple of recent studies have reported that living in greener urban areas was associated with lower breast cancer risk.”

However, Dr. Dupre adds that it is unclear how natural vegetation could influence breast tumor development.

Dr. Dupré will be working alongside researchers in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Louisville, including a team of 10 doctors and several undergraduate and graduate students.

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