Melissa Troester, PhD

Professor Department of Epidemiology
Research Associate Professor Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

T:(919) 966-7408

2104H McGavran-Greenberg Hall

CB# 7435

Chapel Hill, NC 27599


At the Troester Laboratory, Dr. Troester studies how normal breast tissue is altered by breast cancer risk factors and by interaction with breast cancers. Their research shows that from early in carcinogenesis, the normal tissue adjacent to the tumor shows gene expression changes consistent with activation of wound responses. These changes may have important translational implication if they prove to be targetable in chemoprevention or chemotherapy or if they are shown to predict recurrence. In parallel investigations, Dr. Troester is also evaluating how breast tissue gene expression is affected by age, reproductive history, and other breast cancer risk factors. By combining observational studies using normal breast tissue from patients with experimental studies using cell line models of breast cancer, the lab aims to contribute to a better understanding of normal breast tissue biology and the alterations that are induced during carcinogenesis.

Honors and Awards

Impact Award to Doctoral Student, Patricia Casbas Hernandez
2012, UNC-CH

Representative Courses

EPID 770 Cancer Epidemiology and Pathogenesis | Syllabus

Staff/Administrative Duties

Dr. Troester is co-director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences Integrated Sciences Facility Core.

Key Publications

Activation of host wound responses in breast cancer microenvironment. Matthew Carter, David Cowan, Cheng Fan, D. Jerry, Myung Lee, Erick Perez, Charles Perou, Jason Pirone, Sallie Schneider, Melissa Troester (2009). Clinical Cancer Research, 15(22), 7020-7028.

Microarrays and epidemiology: Ensuring the impact and accessibility of research findings. Robert Millikan, Charles Perou, Melissa Troester (2009). Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 18(1), 1-4.

Gene expression patterns associated with p53 status in breast cancer. Claire Barbier, Xiaping He, Jason Herschkowitz, Katherine Hoadley, Daniel Oh, Charles Perou, Melissa Troester (2006). BMC Cancer, 6.


MPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006

PhD, Environmental Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001

MS, Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1995

BA, Chemistry, Macalester College, 1994