Leah E. Mechanic, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Program Director
Genomic Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: (240) 276-6847
Fax: (240) 276-7920
E-mail: mechanil@mail.nih.gov

  • 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
Contact for questions about:
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Complex phenotypes
  • Pan-cancer analyses
  • Informatics technologies


Dr. Leah Mechanic is a Program Director in the Genomic Epidemiology Branch (GEB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Her responsibilities include managing a portfolio of grants related to genetic factors modulating susceptibility to cancer.

Dr. Mechanic has been involved with the trans-NCI Implementation Team for the Cancer Moonshot, Blue Ribbon Panel Recommendation A, “Establish a Network for Direct Patient Engagement.”  As part of this work, she is co-leading funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to support the Participant Engagement and Cancer Genome Sequencing (PE-CGS) Network (U2C and U24).

Additionally, Dr. Mechanic is involved in several activities designed to address challenges and facilitate development of methods for studying gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and applying next-generation sequencing to cancer epidemiology studies. For example, Dr. Mechanic helped coordinate a project to encourage innovation in breast cancer epidemiology through the prize competition, Up For A Challenge (U4C) and a series of papers about challenges and opportunities in studies of gene-environment interactionsExternal Web Site Policy. Other activities in this area include the Sequencing Strategies for Population and Cancer Epidemiology Studies (SeqSPACE) Webinar Series and development of the Genetic Simulation Resources (GSR) catalog. In addition, Dr. Mechanic is a DCCPS representative to the NCI Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program to support development of informatics tools throughout the cancer research continuum. Since 2011, Dr. Mechanic has served as DCCPS' liaison to the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium (E2C2).

Before joining EGRP, Dr. Mechanic was a Senior Study Director at Westat and, as team lead on the Westat Biospecimen Team for the National Children's Study, was responsible for developing procedures for collecting, processing, storing, and analyzing biospecimens. She also was involved in projects for NCI's Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.

Dr. Mechanic first came to NCI in 2001 as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis (LHC), Center for Cancer Research. At LHC, she was interested in the relationship between DNA repair and cancer susceptibility and studied the molecular epidemiology of lung cancer.

Select Publications

See listing of articles authored by Dr. Mechanic in PubMed.