Jeannette Bensen

Jeannette Bensen, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology
UNC Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort
Co-Director, Prostate Cancer Consortium
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
3130 Bioinformatics Building
CB# 7295
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. Bensen’s interests focus on the effect that genes and environment have on risk, severity and progression of prostate and breast cancer as well as birth defects.

Within molecular genetic epidemiology, her focuses include: inflammation, gene structure-function, haplotype, admixture and genome-wide association and gene-environment interaction analyses.  She has experience working with biologic specimens in the laboratory, counseling patients for genetic diseases and designing and developing population and hospital-based research studies.

Research Activities

UNC Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort (supported by UCRF-state legislature)

NC-LA Prostate Cancer Project (PCaP)

Health Care Access and Prostate Cancer Treatment in North Carolina: HCaP-NC

Epidemiology of Breast Cancer Subtypes in African-American Women: a Consortium

Genetic variations in mitochondria and prostate cancer aggressiveness and progression in Caucasian and African American men

Vitamin D and Related Genes, Race and Prostate Cancer

Key Publications

Dietary, supplement, and adipose tissue tocopherol levels in relation to prostate cancer aggressiveness among African and European Americans: The North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (PCaP). Antwi SO, Steck SE, Su LJ, Hébert JR, Zhang H, Fontham ET, Smith GJ, Bensen JT, Mohler JL, Arab L. (2015). Prostate.

Association between Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, Ancestry and Aggressive Prostate Cancer among African Americans and European Americans in PCaP. Steck SE, Arab L, Zhang H, Bensen JT, Fontham ET, Johnson CS, Mohler JL, Smith GJ, Su JL, Trump DL, Woloszynska-Read A. (2015). PLoS One, 10(4).

Treatment decisional regret among men with prostate cancer: Racial differences and influential factors in the North Carolina Health Access and Prostate Cancer Treatment Project (HCaP-NC). Morris BB, Farnan L, Song L, Addington EL, Chen RC, Nielsen ME, Mishel M, Mohler JL, Bensen JT. (2015). Cancer, 121(12), 2029-2035.

Associations of prostate cancer risk variants with disease aggressiveness: results of the NCI-SPORE Genetics Working Group analysis of 18,343 cases. Helfand BT, Roehl KA, Cooper PR, McGuire BB, Fitzgerald LM, Cancel-Tassin G, Cornu JN, Bauer S, Van Blarigan EL, Chen X, Duggan D, Ostrander EA, Gwo-Shu M, Zhang ZF, Chang SC, Jeong S, Fontham ET, Smith G, Mohler JL, Berndt SI, McDonnell SK, Kittles R, Rybicki BA, Freedman M, Kantoff PW, Pomerantz M, Breyer JP, Smith JR, Rebbeck TR, Mercola D, Isaacs WB, Wiklund F, Cussenot O, Thibodeau SN, Schaid DJ, Cannon-Albright L, Cooney KA, Chanock SJ, Stanford JL, Chan JM, Witte J, Xu J, Bensen JT, Taylor JA, Catalona WJ. (2015). Human Genetics, 134(4), 439-450.

Genetic variation in estrogen and progesterone pathway genes and breast cancer risk: an exploration of tumor subtype-specific effects. Nyante SJ, Gammon MD, Kaufman JS, Bensen JT, Lin DY, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Hu Y, He Q, Luo J, Millikan RC. (2015). Cancer Causes Control, 26(1), 121-131.


  • PhD, Molecular Medicine, Wake Forest University, 2002
  • MS, Genetic Counseling, University of Pittsburgh, 1985
  • BS, Biology, State University of New York at Fredonia, 1981