Rutgers School of Public Health faculty, Dr. Adana Llanos, has received the 2018 Excellence in Research Award from the New Jersey Health Foundation. Dr. Llanos, a molecular epidemiologist, is an assistant professor of epidemiology and full member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program.Dr. Llanos joined the faculty at the Rutgers School of Public Health in 2013 after obtaining a PhD in Genetics in 2009 and MPH in Epidemiology in 2013. Along the way she has received several honors and awards, including Minority Scholar Awards (2010 and 2013) and Scholar-in-Training Award (2010) from the American Association for Cancer Research, and induction into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health (2018). Moreover, she was successful in obtaining a 5-year career development grant from the National Cancer Institute entitled, “Adipokines, adipokine receptors, and disparities in breast cancer clinicopathological features.” Since her first publication in 2011, Dr. Llanos has published numerous well-regarded peer-reviewed papers.
Notably, in the past year, Dr. Llanos published an impactful study in Carcinogenesis that examined the association between the use of hair products and breast cancer risk in African American and White women. This large study (4,285 breast cancer cases and controls) was particularly interested in assessing the prevalence of use of hair dyes, chemical relaxers/straighteners and deep conditioning creams containing cholesterol or placenta and how use of these products relate to breast cancer risk. The study’s findings provide evidence of a relationship between the use of some hair products, namely darker shades of hair dye, and increased risk of breast cancer. This work highlighted the need for further research examining hair product use as an important exposure that may contribute to the development of breast cancer, and has garnered significant media coverage.
“I feel truly honored to have received this award and to be recognized by the New Jersey Health Foundation for my research in cancer epidemiology,” says Dr. Llanos.
Dr. Llanos was also recognized by the New Jersey Health Foundation in 2017 for her pedagogy, and was the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award. The Rutgers School of Public Health congratulates Dr. Llanos.