• BA, Biology Washington University in St. Louis, 2002
  • MS, Genetic Epidemiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 2004
  • PhD, Public Health Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, 2008


  • Brandon Pierce’s research focuses on the interrelated roles of genetic, molecular, and environmental factors in cancer risk and prognosis. Dr. Pierce’s ongoing methodological research interests include (1) using biological information to enhance genome-wide association studies and (2) developing “Mendelian randomization” approaches for assessing the causality of cancer-related risk factors in epidemiological studies. Dr. Pierce has several ongoing projects related to the health effects of exposure to arsenic, a known carcinogen, in Bangladesh, including studies of (1) the genetic determinants of arsenic metabolism efficiency and toxicity, and (2) the impact of arsenic exposure on telomeres, a cancer-related biomarker of aging.


  • Pierce BL and Burgess S. Efficient design for Mendelian randomization studies: subsample and two-sample instrumental variable estimators. American Journal of Epidemiology 2012 (in press).
  • Pierce BL and VanderWeele TJ. The effect of non-differential measurement error on bias, precision, and power in Mendelian randomization studies. Int J Epidemiol. 2012 Oct;41(5):1383-93.
  • Pierce BL, Kibriya MG, Tong L, Jasmine F, Argos M, Roy S, Paul-Brutus R, Rahaman R, Rakibuz-Zaman M, Parvez F, Ahmed A, Quasem I, Hore SK, Alam S, Islam T, Slavkovich V, Gamble MV, Yunus M, Rahman M, Baron JA, Graziano JH, Ahsan H. Genome-wide association study identifies chromosome 10q24.32 variants associated with arsenic metabolism and toxicity phenotypes in Bangladesh. PLoS Genet. 2012 Feb;8(2):e1002522.
  • Pierce BL, Tong L, Kraft P, Ahsan H. Unidentified genetic variants influence pancreatic cancer risk: An analysis of the PanScan genome-wide association study. Genet Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;36(5):517-24.
  • Pierce BL, Ahsan H. Genomewide “pleiotropy scan” identifies HNF1A region as a novel pancreatic cancer susceptibility locus. Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 1;71(13):4352-8.
  • Pierce BL, Ahsan H. Association study of type 2 diabetes genetic susceptibility variants and risk of pancreatic cancer: an analysis of PanScan-I data. Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jun;22(6):877-83.
  • Pierce BL, Argos M, Chen Y, Melkonian S, Parvez F, Islam T, Ahmed A, Hasan R, Graziano J, Rathouz PJ, Ahsan H. Arsenic exposure, dietary patterns, and skin lesion risk in Bangladesh: A prospective study. Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Feb 1;173(3):345-54.
  • Pierce BL, Ahsan H, Vanderweele TJ. Power and instrument strength requirements for Mendelian randomization studies using multiple genetics variants. Int J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun;40(3):740-52.
  • Argos M, Kalra T, Rathhouz PJ, Chen Y, Pierce BL, Parvez F, Islam T, Ahmed A, Rakibuz-Zaman M Hasan R, Sarwar G, Slavkovich V, van Green A, Graziano J, Ahsan H. Arsenic Exposure from drinking water, and all-cause and chronic-disease mortalities in Bangladesh (HEALS): a prospective cohort study. Lancet 2010, Jul 24;376(9737):252-8.
  • Pierce BL and Ahsan H. Genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes is associated with prostate cancer risk. Human Heredity 2010, 69:193-201.
  • Pierce BL, Kalra T, Argos M, Parvez F, Chen Y, Islam T, Ahmed A, Hasan R, Rakibuz-Zaman M, Graziano J, Rathouz PJ, Ahsan H. A prospective study of body mass index and mortality in Bangladesh. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2010 Aug;39(4):1037-45.
  • Pierce BL and Ahsan H. Case-only genome-wide interaction study of disease risk, prognosis, and treatment. Genetic Epidemiology, 2010; 34(1):7-15.
  • Pierce BL, Ballard-Barbash R, Bernstein L, Baumgartner RN, Neuhouser ML, Wener MH, Baumgartner KB, Gilliland FD, Sorensen BE, McTiernan, Ulrich CM. Elevated biomarkers of inflammation are associated with reduced survival among breast cancer patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2009; 27(21):3437-44.
  • Pierce BL, Carlson CS, Kuszler PC, Stanford JL, Austin MA. The impact of patents on the development of genome-based clinical diagnostics: an analysis of case studies. Genetics in Medicine, 2009; 11(3): 202-209.

Last Updated: February 10, 2014

Brandon Pierce, PhD
Assistant Professor (Epidemiology)
(773) 702-1917

5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 2007, Rm. N101
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Fax: 773-834-0139