Contact for Research Inquiries
Health disparities; Social/behavioral science; Community based CVD prevention; Molecular and physiologic aspects of CVD risk; Genetics/epidemiology of premature cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Dr. Diane Becker is the founding director of the GeneSTAR Research Program, a multidimensional 30 year longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, vascular properties, genetics, transcriptomics and proteomics in families with early-onset coronary disease, identified from a proband at the time of hospitalization in any of 10 Baltimore hospitals commencing in 1983.
Dr. Becker is a 1964 graduate of the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing, with 17 years of experience as a nursing leader in cardiac surgical intensive care at Johns Hopkins, The Brompton Hospital in London, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and UNC in Chapel Hill. Her masters (M.PH.) and doctoral degrees were completed in 1984 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomburg School of public health, and her work has evolved to include epidemiologic and translational studies in high risk families of processes that lead to incident stroke and acute coronary syndromes. Dr. Becker is active in national and international genetics/genomics consortia. Dr. Becker's work is "generalist" in that it extends to metabolic syndrome, obesity, aging, systemic lupus and breast cancer, and systems based scientific approaches to racial eliminating disparities in the prevention and treatment of common chronic diseases.
Dr. Becker has built a strong team of faculty experts who constitute the GeneSTAR program, and works closely with her husband, Dr. Lewis Becker, Professor of Cardiology who Co-directors the program, bringing a strong basic science approach to all work in the GeneSTAR cohort study. Currently he directs GeneSTAR's induced puripotent stem cell projects related to platelet aggregation and coronary disease.
The goal of GeneSTAR is to move beyond simple association studies typical of epidemiology of the past, and intervention studies where averages are used to create "one size fits all" clinical therapeutic guidelines, and to develop new paradigms based on integrative models of basic and translational science that create highly individualized therapies to prevent and treat disease. Thus developing novel analytic methods, family-based approaches, and study designs is a hallmark of the GeneSTAR program. Studies included involve biology, epidemiology, statistics, clinical trials, social sciences, diet and exercise, interventions, and related areas, including imaging of the brain and the heart.
Dr. Becker also takes a strong analytic interest in robust studies of gender disparities in scientific opportunities and growth for women in medicine, and is active in the Joint Oversight Committee on Women in the School of Medicine, and the Office of Women in Science and Medicine.