Heather Spencer Feigelson, PhD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Heather Spencer FeigelsonHeather Spencer Feigelson, PhD, MPH, is a Cancer Epidemiologist and Senior Investigator at the Institute for Health Research. Dr. Feigelson has over 20 years of experience as a cancer epidemiologist with expertise in genetic susceptibility and genomics. She is committed to understanding factors that improve treatment response and survival in those living with cancer and has lead studies looking at factors associated with survival of ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer and melanoma. Much of Dr. Feigelson’s research has focused on the etiology of breast cancer. Her current work includes understanding risk factors associated with second cancers among women with breast cancer, and molecular markers that predict progression of DCIS to invasive breast cancer. She also has a long-standing interest in steroid hormone metabolism and its role in cancer etiology, and has explored many factors associated with hormonal mechanisms, including genetics, obesity, hormone replacement therapy, and the gut microbiome.

Dr. Feigelson is the Colorado lead investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank a national study with a goal to create a state of the art resource for precision medicine and genomics research. She is also evaluating on-line tools as strategies to increase family history screening and awareness of Lynch Syndrome and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome in medically underserved and ethnically diverse populations.

Dr. Feigelson earned her Master of Public Health degree from the San Diego State University and completed her doctoral training in epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Southern California.

Selected Research

  • Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER2)
    The goal of this project is to investigate the implementation of exome sequencing in practice settings that primarily serve racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse patients while examining the needs of both patients and clinicians. We will evaluate the clinical utility of exome sequencing in healthy adults of reproductive age at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes (Lynch Syndrome and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer). We will evaluate and tailor for diverse populations the critical interactions in the program, including the consent process, choices for reporting additional findings, and the response to results disclosure.
    Funder: National Human Genome Research Institute
    Study End Date: 5/31/2021

  • Molecular Markers of Risk of Subsequent Breast Cancer in Women with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
    The aim of this study is to identify miRNA expression changes associated with risk of invasive breast cancer among a cohort of women initially diagnosed with DCIS.
    Funder: National Cancer Institute
    Study End Date: 7/31/2022

  • KP National Biobank
    The KP National Biobank is a collaboration across all Kaiser regions funded by the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. The goal of the biobank is to collect blood and/or tissue samples on 400,000 Kaiser Permanente members and utilize them, combined with survey data and medical information, to create a state-of-the-art resource for genetic and health services research.
    Funder: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
    Study End Date: 12/31/2019

  • Late Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment: Mammographic Density and Risk of Contralateral Breast Cancer
    The goal of this project is to investigate the association between breast density and risk of contralateral breast cancer.
    Funder: National Cancer Institute
    Study End Date: 7/31/2019