News Release

Monday, August 16, 2010

New breast cancer committee to establish federal research agenda

A newly formed advisory committee will develop and coordinate a strategic federal research agenda on environmental and genetic factors related to breast cancer. The 19-member Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC) was established by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to review all breast cancer research efforts conducted or supported by federal agencies.

The committee will develop recommendations for the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies, to improve existing research programs related to breast cancer research. Additionally, the IBCERCC will create a comprehensive plan to expand opportunities for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research, and develop a summary of advances in federal breast cancer research.

"The broad range of expertise and insight of these individuals will ensure the federal research portfolio continues to advance our understanding of the critical links between our environment, our genes, and our health," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

"The committee's focus on breast cancer and the environment research across federal agencies will be valuable in identifying scientific opportunities to better understand the impact of the environment on this disease," said Robert Croyle, Ph.D., director of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at NCI.

The IBCERCC is comprised of 19 voting members, including representatives of federal agencies; non-federal scientists, physicians, and other health professionals from clinical, basic, and public health sciences; and advocates for individuals with breast cancer.

The first meeting of the IBCERCC will take place Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, 2010 in the Washington, D.C., area.

Federal Representatives
Christine Ambrosone, Ph.D. Member, Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute, and
Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Sally Darney, Ph.D. Acting National Program Director, Human Health Research Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Suzanne Fenton, Ph.D. Reproductive Endocrinologist
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Vivian Pinn, M.D. Director, Office of Research on Women's Health
National Institutes of Health
Marcus Plescia, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Gayle Vaday, Ph.D. Program Manager, Breast Cancer Research Program, Congressionally
Directed Medical Research Programs, U.S. Department of Defense
Shelia Hoar Zahm, Sc.D. Deputy Director, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute
Non-Federal Representatives (Scientists, Physicians, and other Health Professionals)
Michele Forman, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Michael Gould, Ph.D. Professor of Oncology
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Sandra Haslam, Ph.D. Professor of Physiology
Michigan State University
Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D. Medical Director, Women’s Oncology Clinic and Director, Cancer Control
Arkansas Cancer Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Kenneth Portier, Ph.D. Statistician
American Cancer Society
Cheryl Walker, Ph.D. Professor of Carcinogenesis
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Non-Federal Representatives (Advocates)
Janice Barlow, P.H.N., C.P.N.P.C. Executive Director
Zero Breast Cancer
Beverly Canin President
Breast Cancer Options
Alice Chang, Ph.D. President and Co-Founder
Academy for Cancer Wellness
Karen Joy Miller Founder and President
Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition
Laura Nikolaides, M.S. Director, Research & Quality Care Program
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Jeanne Rizzo, R.N. President and CEO
Breast Cancer Fund

The business of the committee will be facilitated by federal officials including Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the NTP; Harold Varmus, M.D., director of NCI; Gwen Collman, Ph.D., interim director of the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training; Deborah Winn, Ph.D., deputy director of the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch; and Neeraja Sathyamoorthy, Ph.D., program director of the NCI Division of Cancer Biology's Tumor Biology and Metastasis Branch.

The NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit our Web site at Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news lists ( to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®