Patricia A. Cassano, MPH, Ph.D., is Director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Alan D. Mathios Professor, Cornell University. The Division of Nutritional Sciences is in the Colleges of Human Ecology and Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dr. Cassano is also Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Director of Graduate Studies in Epidemiology, Cornell University Graduate School. Dr. Cassano received her MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University and her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.
Dr. Cassano’s major research interests are in the epidemiology and prevention of chronic lung disease focusing on dietary and lifestyle risk and on gene-environment interactions. She has methodological expertise in the design, conduct and analysis of analytical epidemiological studies, including long-term prospective cohort studies incorporating biological markers of nutrition and metabolism and molecular markers of genetic variation. Dr. Cassano’s research group has conducted various kinds of studies on the role of nutrition in lung phenotypes, and Dr. Cassano led the Respiratory Ancillary Study to the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). The findings from her research have contributed to the evidence base informing public health policies and programs to prevent chronic diseases including lung disease.
Dr. Cassano’s interests include the translation of research evidence to policy and practice. She serves as Director of Cornell's PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Research for Health and as Director of the Cochrane US Network Cornell Affiliate Center for Nutrition. She directs the WHO/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute on Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making, which is a collaborative effort among the World Health Organization, Cochrane and the Division of Nutritional Sciences. The Summer Institute has trained over 150 participants from around the world and the resulting systematic reviews are contributing to WHO guidelines to inform nutrition policies and programs.
Dr. Cassano leads the NIH T32 Nutrition Training Program (multi-PIs PA Cassano and SB Qian) and she teaches the foundation course in Epidemiology for graduate students in both the Graduate School of Cornell University and the Weill Cornell Medical College Translational Science program in Clinical Investigation. She also teaches the grant writing course for graduate field of nutrition PhD students.
Dr. Cassano is principle investigator for an ongoing NIH-funded study of gene x nutrient interactions in relation to pulmonary function decline and risk of COPD (multi-PIs PA Cassano, DB Hancock). This work is leading to new discoveries of genetic variants that interact with nutrition, including vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, to influence lung function. Dr. Cassano is co-investigator in the Research Coordinating Center of the NIH Common Fund’s Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program, which aims to develop algorithms that predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns.
- Gene x nutrient studies of pulmonary function phenotypes within the CHARGE consortium, under the auspices of NIH R01 funded project (Multi PIs PA Cassano and D Hancock (RTI))
- co-Investigator in the Research Coordinating Center of the NIH Common Fund’s Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program, which seeks to develop algorithms that predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns.
- Mendelian Randomization studies to contribute to investigating the causality of findings from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids with lung function and lung disease risk.
- Systematic reviews of nutrient--disease associations.
Dr. Cassano teaches a graduate course in Epidemiology, and a graduate course in grant-writing. In addition, she directs the annual WHO/Cochrane/Cornell University Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making. Dr. Cassano advises PhD and MS students and undergraduates majoring in Human Biology Health and Society, Nutritional Sciences, and Global and Public Health Sciences, including students in the College of Human Ecology and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
NS 6520 : Epidemiology Foundations (also offered concurrently at Weill Cornell Medical College through the Clinical and Translational Science Center)
NS7040 : Grant Writing
Selected Publications from 2019 to present:
- J Xu, TM Bartz; G Chittoor, G Eiriksdottir, AW Manichaikul, F Sun, N Terzikhan, X Zhou, SL Booth, GG Brusselle, IH de Boer, M Fornage, AC Frazier-Wood, M Graff, V Gudnason, TB Harris, A Hofman, R Hou, DK Houston, DR Jacobs, Jr., SB Kritchevsky, J Latourelle, RN Lemaitre, PL Lutsey, G O’Connor, EC Oelsner, JS Pankow, BM Psaty, RR Rohde, SS Rich, JI Rotter, LJ Smith, BH Stricker, VS Voruganti, TJ Wang, MC Zillikens, RG Barr, J Dupuis, SA Gharib, L Lahousse, SJ London, KE North, AV Smith, LM Steffen, DB Hancock*, PA Cassano*. Large-Scale Meta-Analysis Provides Evidence for an Association of Serum Vitamin D with Pulmonary Function (2018). British Journal of Nutrition 2018 Nov;120(10):1159-1170.
- J Xu, NC Gaddis, TM Bartz; R Hou, AW Manichaikul, N Pankratz, AV Smith, F Sun, N Terzikhan, CA Markunas, BK Patchen, M Schu, MA Beydoun, GG Brusselle, G Eiriksdottir, X Zhou, AC Frazier-Wood, M Graff, TB Harris, MA Ikram, DR Jacobs, Jr., LJ Launer, RN Lemaitre, G O’Connor, EC Oelsner, BM Psaty, VS Ramachandran, RR Rohde, SS Rich, SJ Robins, JI Rotter, S Seshadri, LJ Smith, H Tiemeier, MY Tsai, AG Uitterlinden, VS Voruganti, M Fornage, MC Zillikens, SJ London, RG Barr, J Dupuis, SA Gharib, V Gudnason, L Lahousse, KE North, LM Steffen, PA Cassano*, DB Hancock*. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Genome-wide Interaction Analyses Reveal DPP10-Pulmonary Function Association (2019). American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2019 Mar 1;199(5):631-642. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201802-0304OC.
- Best CM, Xu J, Patchen BK, Cassano PA. Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant or breastfeeding women or young children for preventing asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD013396. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013396.
- Bae S, Kamynina E, Guetterman HM, Farinola AF, Caudill MA, Berry RJ, Cassano PA, Stover PJ. Provision of folic acid for reducing arsenic toxicity in arsenic‐exposed children and adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD012649. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012649.pub2
- BK Patchen, AG Clark, DB Hancock, N Gaddis, Cassano PA. Genetically predicted serum vitamin D and COVID-19: a Mendelian randomization study. 2021. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2021; bmjnph-2021-000255. doi:10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000255.
- J Xu, KA Guertin, NC Gaddis, AH Agler, RS Parker, JM Feldman, AR Kristal, KB Arnold, PJ Goodman, CM Tangen, DB Hancock, and PA Cassano. 2022. Change in Plasma Alpha-Tocopherol Associations with Attenuated Pulmonary Function Decline and with CYP4F2 Missense Variation. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 115, Issue 4, April 2022, Pages 1205–1216, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqac013
Cornell University Graduate Field Membership: Nutrition; Epidemiology
2022- present Steering Committee, Friends of NIH Office of Nutrition Research, American Society of Nutrition
2021-2022 Past Chair, Association of Nutrition Departments and Programs
2016- present; Member, Weill Cornell Medicine, Clinical & Translational Science Center Education Advisory
2016- present; Member, Cochrane Nutrition Field Advisory Board
Dr. Cassano is a member of:
- Society for Epidemiologic Research
- American Thoracic Society
- American Society for Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Cassano serves as Director of Cornell's PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Research for Health and as Director of the Cochrane US Network Cornell Affiliate Center for Nutrition. She directs the WHO/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute on Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making, which is a collaborative effort among the World Health Organization, Cochrane and the Division of Nutritional Sciences. The Summer Institute has trained over 150 participants from around the world and the resulting systematic reviews are contributing to WHO guidelines to inform nutrition policies and programs.
Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Director of Graduate Studies, Minor Field of Epidemiology
1987, Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Washington
1980, M.P.H., Epidemiology, Columbia University
1976, A.B. , Biological Sciences, Mt. Holyoke College