Leah E. Mechanic, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, Host Susceptibility Factors Branch

Leah E. Mechanic

Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
9609 Medical Center Drive, Rm. 4E104, MSC 9763
Bethesda, MD 20892
(For express delivery, use Rockville, MD 20850)

Interest Areas

  • Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions
  • Biospecimen science
  • Molecular epidemiology of lung cancer
  • Hematological malignancies
  • Endometrial cancer


  • Ph.D. - Biochemistry and Biophysics
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.P.H. - Epidemiology
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health
  • B.S. - Biochemistry
    Binghamton University


Dr. Mechanic is a Program Director in the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program's (EGRP) Host Susceptibility Factors Branch (HSFB). Her responsibilities include management of a portfolio of grants related to factors modulating susceptibility to cancer and serving as a Division representative for trans-NCI efforts to ensure access to and use of high quality biospecimens. Additionally, Dr. Mechanic has been involved in several trans-NIH activities designed to address the analytical challenges for studying gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, complex phenotypes, and next generation sequencing.

Before joining EGRP, Dr. Mechanic was a Senior Study Director at Westat. She was the team lead on the Westat Biospecimen Team for the National Children's Study (NCS) where she was responsible for development of procedures for collection, processing, storage, and analysis of biospecimens. She also worked on various projects for the NCI Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.

Dr. Mechanic first came to NCI in 2001 as a Cancer Prevention Fellow with an interest in the relationship between DNA repair and cancer susceptibility, and worked in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis (LHC), Center for Cancer Research, studying molecular epidemiology of lung cancer.

In addition to her responsibilities as Program Director, Dr. Mechanic continues to collaborate with colleagues in LHC on examining the association between genetic variation and tumor markers with lung cancer susceptibility and prognosis.


Mechanic LE, Chen HS, Amos CI, Chatterjee N, Cox NJ, Divi RL, Fan R, Harris EL, Jacobs K, Kraft P, Leal SM, McAllister K, Moore JH, Paltoo DN, Province MA, Ramos EM, Ritchie MD, Roeder K, Schaid DJ, Stephens M, Thomas DC, Weinberg CR, Witte JS, Zhang S, Zöllner S, Feuer EJ, Gillanders EM. Next generation analytic tools for large scale genetic epidemiology studies of complex diseasesExternal Web Site Policy. Genet Epidemiol. 2011 Dec 6.

Troy JD, Hartge P, Weissfeld JL, Oken MM, Colditz GA, Mechanic LE, Morton LM. Associations between anthropometry, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening TrialExternal Web Site Policy. Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Jun 15;171(12):1270-81. Epub 2010 May 21.

Enewold L, Mechanic LE, Bowman ED, Zheng YL, Yu Z, Trivers G, Alberg AJ, Harris CC. Serum concentrations of cytokines and lung cancer survival in African Americans and CaucasiansExternal Web Site Policy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):215-22.

Mechanic LE, Luke BT, Goodman JE, Chanock SJ, Harris CC. Polymorphism Interaction Analysis (PIA): a method for investigating complex gene-gene interactionsExternal Web Site Policy. BMC Bioinformatics. 2008 Mar 6;9:146.

Mechanic LE, Bowman ED, Welsh JA, Khan MA, Hagiwara N, Enewold L, Shields PG, Burdette L, Chanock S, Harris CC. Common genetic variation in TP53 is associated with lung cancer risk and prognosis in African Americans and somatic mutations in lung tumorsExternal Web Site Policy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Feb;16(2):214-22.

Mechanic LE, Millikan RC, Player J, de Cotret AR, Winkel S, Worley K, Heard K, Heard K, Tse CK, Keku T.Polymorphisms in nucleotide excision repair genes, smoking and breast cancer in African Americans and whites: a population-based case-control studyExternal Web Site Policy. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Jul;27(7):1377-85. Epub 2006 Jan 6.

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