Kelly Hirko, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College of Human Medicine, Traverse City Campus
Michigan State University

Ph.D. Epidemiological Science, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 2013
M.P.H. Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, 2008
B.S. Biopsychology, University of Michigan, 2002

Curriculum Vitae


My research aims to understand the etiology of cancer through the investigation of modifiable lifestyle risk factors, particularly obesity and nutrition, to reduce the overall burden of the disease. I am interested in using biomarkers, such as sex steroid concentrations and tumor marker characteristics, to illuminate the pathways through which exposures to certain lifestyle factors may result in the development of breast cancer. I am also particularly interested in understanding risk factors for aggressive breast cancer subtypes, including estrogen receptor-negative tumors, and inflammatory breast cancer.

My research interests also focus on investigating potential contributors to racial and socioeconomic disparities in cancer occurrence and prognosis after diagnosis. Investigating cancer disparities can lead to a better understanding of the etiology of cancer and the elucidation of novel risk factors for cancer incidence and disease progression.



Hirko KA, Chen WY, Willett WC, Rosner BA, Hankinson SE, Beck AH, Tamimi RM, Eliassen AH. Alcohol consumption and risk of breast cancer by molecular subtype: Prospective analysis of the nurses’ health study after 26 years of follow-up. Int J Cancer. 2016 Mar 1. PMID: 26384849.

Hirko KA, Kantor ED, Cohen SS, Blot WJ, Stampfer MJ, Signorello LB. “Body mass index in young adulthood, obesity trajectory and premature mortality” Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Sep 1. PMID: 25977515.

Hirko KA, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Hankinson SE, Eliassen AH. Alcohol consumption in relation to plasma sex hormones, prolactin and sex hormone-binding globulin in premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Oct 3. PMID: 25281368.

Bergmans R, Soliman AS, Ruterbusch J, Meza R, Hirko K, Graff J, Schwartz K. “Cancer incidence among Arab Americans in California, Detroit, and New Jersey SEER registries”. Am J Public Health. 2014 Apr 17; 104(6):e83-91. PMID: 24825237

Hirko KA, Soliman AS, Banerjee M, Ruterbusch J, Harford JB, Merajver SD, Schwartz K. “A comparison of criteria to identify inflammatory breast cancer from medical records and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database, 2007-2009. Breast J. 2014 Mar; 20(2):185-91. PMID: 24372839.

Hirko KA, Soliman AS, Hablas A, Seifeldin IA, Banerjee M, Ruterbusch J, Harford JB, Chamberlain RM, Merajver SD, Schwartz K. “Trends in breast cancer incidence rates by age and stage at diagnosis in Gharbiah, Egypt, over 10 years (1999-2008). J Cancer Epidemiol. 2013; 916394. PMID: 24282410.

Hirko KA, Soliman AS, Banerjee M, Ruterbusch J, Harford JB, Chamberlain RM, Graff JJ, Merajver SD, Schwartz K. “Characterizing inflammatory breast cancer among Arab Americans in the California, Detroit and New Jersey Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries (1988-2008). Springerplus. 2013 Dec; 2(1):3. PMID: 23420611.