Yawei Zhang MD, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health)

Biographical Info

Dr. Zhang's research interests focus on two areas: 1) etiology and prognosis of adult malignancies; and 2) risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes. In particular, she has been studying various environmental exposures, lifestyle factors and gene-environment interaction in the etiology and prognosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She has been pioneering the causes of increasing trends of thyroid cancer observed worldwide. Specifically, she is conducting a population-based case-control study in Connecticut to investigate radiation exposure, DNA repair capacity and risk of thyroid cancer, as well as a nested case-control study in the Department of Defense Serum Repository Cohort to examine flame retardants (PBDEs) and other polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons in relation to thyroid cancer. She has also been studying environment factors and gene-environment interactions for multiple myeloma and cancers of the testes, pancreas, lung, liver, and bladder.

Dr. Zhang became interested in adverse pregnancy outcomes because the fetal origin hypothesis suggests that growth and developmental delays in utero may influence not only childhood mortality and morbidity but also the risk of diseases in adulthood including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Dr. Zhang is currently establishing a birth cohort study in Lanzhou, China to investigate ambient and household air pollution and adverse birth outcomes. The birth cohort study has also collected information on various exposures (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, occupation, residential history, medical conditions and medication use, diet, etc) and biospecimen (maternal and cord blood), which allows to comprehensively explore and identify risk factors for adverse birth outcomes and maternal complications.

International Activity

  • International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph)
    Australia; Canada; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Germany; Italy; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway   (2013)
    The goal of the InterLymph is to enhance collaboration among epidemiologists studying lymphoma, provide a forum for the exchange of research ideas, and create a framework for collaborating on analyses that pool data from multiple lymphoma studies. The countries involved include Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
  • Birth Cohort Study in China
    China   (2008)
    Work done to establish a multi-center birth cohort study in China to understand early life environmental exposures and human health. This study is supported by Yale YCCI award.

Education & Training

Western China University of Medical Science (1993)
Yale University (2003)
Yale University (2004)

Honors & Recognition

  • Scholar in Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Cancer Institute

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