Heather M. Ochs-Balcom


Heather M. Ochs-Balcom


Heather M. Ochs-Balcom


Research Topics

Genetic epidemiology of complex traits; cancer health disparities; gene-environment interactions.

Contact Information

268D Farber Hall

Buffalo NY, 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5338

Fax: (716) 829-2979


Professional Summary

Heather M. Ochs-Balcom, PhD joined the department in 2007 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in the Division of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology under Robert Elston, PhD. She was appointed as an assistant professor in 2009 and as an associate professor in 2016.

The focus of her research program is centered on the role of genetics in complex diseases/traits, with a focus on health disparities. More specifically, this research program involves the application of genetic epidemiology tools and approaches to identify new disease-associated genes and elucidate how modifiable disease risk factors (obesity, sleep, drugs) interact with known gene-disease associations. Interdisciplinary pre- and post-doctoral training in epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics and computational approaches in family-based and population-based research aided in establishing a strong foundation from which her research was developed and has evolved. She is currently working on a study of genes and breast cancer in African American families and participating in several studies in the Women's Health Initiative.


  • PhD, Epidemiology and Community Health, University at Buffalo, 2004
  • MS, Biology, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA, 2000
  • BS, Biology, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA, 1997

Professional Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 2004-2007

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Society of Human Genetics
  • American Society of Preventive Oncology
  • International Genetic Epidemiology Society
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research