Gillings School Directory

Melissa Troester, PhD

Melissa Troester

Melissa Troester, PhD

Department of Epidemiology
Research Professor
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility
  • 253 Rosenau
  • CB# 7435
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

The Troester laboratory studies breast cancer and benign breast disease using genomic, molecular pathology, and epidemiologic approaches. Much of Dr. Troester’s research focus has been on understanding interactions between the environment and breast genomics. Troester directs the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility and has led a Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program. She is Principal Investigator on the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), a study of breast cancer epidemiology and biology focused on understanding breast cancer disparities and she is Co-Leader of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Epidemiology program. She has extensive experience working in consortia, including the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) consortium, the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC), and the Cancer Genome Atlas project. In the TCGA, she led analyses of benign breast genomics. A common theme throughout her work is integrating genomic data and molecular biology with human studies of breast cancer etiology and progression.

Representative Courses

EPID 770 Cancer Epidemiology and Pathogenesis | Syllabus

Key Publications

Racial differences in PAM50 Subtypes in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study. Troester MA, Sun X, Allott EH, Geradts J, Cohen SM, Tse CK, Kirk EL, Thorne LB, Mathews M, Li Y, Hu Z, Robinson WR, Hoadley KA. Olopade OI, Reeder-Hayes KE, Earp HS, Olshan AF, Carey LA, Perou CM (2018). J Natl Cancer Inst, 110(2).

Performance of three-biomarker immunohistochemistry for intrinsic breast cancer subtyping in the AMBER consortium. Allott EH, Cohen SM, Geradts J, Sun X, Khoury T, Bshara W, Zirpoli GR, Miller CR, Hwang H, Thorne LB, O’Connor S, Tse CK, Bell MB, Hu Z, Li Y, Kirk EL, Bethea TN, Perou CM, Palmer JR, Ambrosone CB, Olshan AF, Troester MA (2016). Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 25(3).

Digital histologic analysis reveals morphometric patterns of age-related involution in breast epithelium and stroma. Sandhu R, Chollet-Hinton L, Kirk EL, Midkiff B, Troester MA (2016). Hum Pathol, 48.

Intratumoral heterogeneity as a source of discordance in breast cancer biomarker classification. Allott EH, Geradts J, Sun X, Cohen SM, Zirpoli GR, Khoury T, Bshara W, Chen M, Sherman ME, Palmer JR, Ambrosone CB, Olshan AF, Troester MA (2016). Breast Cancer Research, 18(1).

Staff/Administrative Duties

Director, Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility

Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology Program, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.


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

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