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Diane M. Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D.

Photo of Dr. Diane M. Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D.

Director, GeneSTAR Research Program

Professor of Medicine

Research Interests: Health disparities; Social/behavioral science; Community based CVD prevention; Molecular and physiologic aspects of CVD risk; Genetics/epidemiology of premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) more


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. more


  • Director, GeneSTAR Research Program
  • Professor of Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (1979)
  • Sc.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (1984)

Research & Publications

Technology Expertise Keywords

genetic epidemiology, statistics,

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Vaidya D, Kral BG, Yanek LR, Moy TF, Fishman EK, Becker DM, Becker LC. The association of brachial artery diameter with noncalcified coronary plaque burden in apparently healthy individuals. Coron Artery Dis. 2013 Dec;24(8):657-62. doi: 10.1097/MCA.0000000000000034. PMID: 24077324 [PubMed - in process]

Franceschini N, Fox E, Zhang Z, Edwards TL, Nalls MA, Sung YJ, Tayo BO, Sun YV, Gottesman O, Adeyemo A, Johnson AD, Young JH, Rice K, Duan Q, Chen F, Li Y, Tang H, Fornage M, Keene KL, Andrews JS, Smith JA, Faul JD, Guangfa Z, Guo W, Liu Y, Murray SS, Musani SK, Srinivasan S, Velez Edwards DR, Wang H, Becker LC, Bovet P, Bochud M, Broeckel U, Burnier M, Carty C, Chasman DI, Ehret G, Chen WM, Chen G, Chen W, Ding J, Dreisbach AW, Evans MK, Guo X, Garcia ME, Jensen R, Keller MF, Lettre G, Lotay V, Martin LW, Moore JH, Morrison AC, Mosley TH, Ogunniyi A, Palmas W, Papanicolaou G, Penman A, Polak JF, Ridker PM, Salako B, Singleton AB, Shriner D, Taylor KD, Vasan R, Wiggins K, Williams SM, Yanek LR, Zhao W, Zonderman AB, Becker DM, Berenson G, Boerwinkle E, Bottinger E, Cushman M, Eaton C, Nyberg F, Heiss G, Hirschhron JN, Howard VJ, Karczewsk KJ, Lanktree MB, Liu K, Liu Y, Loos R, Margolis K, Snyder M; Asian Genetic Epidemiology Network Consortium, Psaty BM, Schork NJ, Weir DR, Rotimi CN, Sale MM, Harris T, Kardia SL, Hunt SC, Arnett D, Redline S, Cooper RS, Risch NJ, Rao DC, Rotter JI, Chakravarti A, Reiner AP, Levy D, Keating BJ, Zhu X. Genome-wide association analysis of blood-pressure traits in African-ancestry individuals reveals common associated genes in African and non-African populations. Am J Hum Genet. 2013 Sep 5;93(3):545-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Aug 22. PMID: 23972371

Sabater-Lleal M, Huang J, Chasman D, Naitza S, Dehghan A, Johnson AD, Teumer A, Reiner AP, Folkersen L, Basu S, Rudnicka AR, Trompet S, Mälarstig A, Baumert J, Bis JC, Guo X, Hottenga JJ, Shin SY, Lopez LM, Lahti J, Tanaka T, Yanek LR, Oudot-Mellakh T, Wilson JF, Navarro P, Huffman JE, Zemunik T, Redline S, Mehra R, Pulanic D, Rudan I, Wright AF, Kolcic I, Polasek O, Wild SH, Campbell H, Curb JD, Wallace R, Liu S, Eaton CB, Becker DM, Becker LC, Bandinelli S, Räikkönen K, Widen E, Palotie A, Fornage M, Green D, Gross M, Davies G, Harris SE, Liewald DC, Starr JM, Williams FM, Grant PJ, Spector TD, Strawbridge RJ, Silveira A, Sennblad B, Rivadeneira F, Uitterlinden AG, Franco OH, Hofman A, van Dongen J, Willemsen G, Boomsma DI, Yao J, Swords Jenny N, Haritunians T, McKnight B, Lumley T, Taylor KD, Rotter JI, Psaty BM, Peters A, Gieger C, Illig T, Grotevendt A, Homuth G, Völzke H, Kocher T, Goel A, Franzosi MG, Seedorf U, Clarke R, Steri M, Tarasov KV, Sanna S, Schlessinger D, Stott DJ, Sattar N, Buckley BM, Rumley A, Lowe GD, McArdle WL, Chen MH, Tofler GH, Song J, Boerwinkle E, Folsom AR, Rose LM, Franco-Cereceda A, Teichert M, Ikram MA, Mosley TH, Bevan S, Dichgans M, Rothwell PM, Sudlow CL, Hopewell JC, Chambers JC, Saleheen D, Kooner JS, Danesh J, Nelson CP, Erdmann J, Reilly MP, Kathiresan S, Schunkert H, Morange PE, Ferrucci L, Eriksson JG, Jacobs D, Deary IJ, Soranzo N, Witteman JC, de Geus EJ, Tracy RP, Hayward C, Koenig W, Cucca F, Jukema JW, Eriksson P, Seshadri S, Markus HS, Watkins H, Samani NJ; VTE Consortium; STROKE Consortium; Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 (WTCCC2); C4D Consortium; CARDIoGRAM Consortium, Wallaschofski H, Smith NL, Tregouet D, Ridker PM, Tang W, Strachan DP, Hamsten A, O'Donnell CJ. Multiethnic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in >100 000 subjects identifies 23 fibrinogen-associated Loci but no strong evidence of a causal association between circulating fibrinogen and cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2013 Sep 17;128(12):1310-24. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251. Epub 2013 Aug 22. PMID: 23969696

Liu CT, Monda KL, Taylor KC, Lange L, Demerath EW, Palmas W, Wojczynski MK, Ellis JC, Vitolins MZ, Liu S, Papanicolaou GJ, Irvin MR, Xue L, Griffin PJ, Nalls MA, Adeyemo A, Liu J, Li G, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Chen WM, Chen F, Henderson BE, Millikan RC, Ambrosone CB, Strom SS, Guo X, Andrews JS, Sun YV, Mosley TH, Yanek LR, Shriner D, Haritunians T, Rotter JI, Speliotes EK, Smith M, Rosenberg L, Mychaleckyj J, Nayak U, Spruill I, Garvey WT, Pettaway C, Nyante S, Bandera EV, Britton AF, Zonderman AB, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Chen YD, Ding J, Lohman K, Kritchevsky SB, Zhao W, Peyser PA, Kardia SL, Kabagambe E, Broeckel U, Chen G, Zhou J, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Neuhouser ML, Rampersaud E, Psaty B, Kooperberg C, Manson JE, Kuller LH, Ochs-Balcom HM, Johnson KC, Sucheston L, Ordovas JM, Palmer JR, Haiman CA, McKnight B, Howard BV, Becker DM, Bielak LF, Liu Y, Allison MA, Grant SF, Burke GL, Patel SR, Schreiner PJ, Borecki IB, Evans MK, Taylor H, Sale MM, Howard V, Carlson CS, Rotimi CN, Cushman M, Harris TB, Reiner AP, Cupples LA, North KE, Fox CS. Genome-wide association of body fat distribution in African ancestry populations suggests new loci. PLoS Genet. 2013;9(8):e1003681. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003681. Epub 2013 Aug 15. PMID: 23966867 [PubMed - in process]

Wojczynski MK, Li M, Bielak LF, Kerr KF, Reiner AP, Wong ND, Yanek LR, Qu L, White CC, Lange LA, Ferguson JF, He J, Young T, Mosley TH, Smith JA, Kral BG, Guo X, Wong Q, Ganesh SK, Heckbert SR, Griswold ME, O'Leary DH, Budoff M, Carr JJ, Taylor HA Jr, Bluemke DA, Demissie S, Hwang SJ, Paltoo DN, Polak JF, Psaty BM, Becker DM, Province MA, Post WS, O'Donnell CJ, Wilson JG, Harris TB, Kavousi M, Cupples LA, Rotter JI, Fornage M, Becker LC, Peyser PA, Borecki IB, Reilly MP. Genetics of coronary artery calcification among African Americans, a meta-analysis. BMC Med Genet. 2013 Jul 19;14:75. doi: 10.1186/1471-2350-14-75

Activities & Honors


  • First David Rogers Memorial Award, American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1994
  • Senior Health Policy Fellowship, Institute of Medicine, 1996
  • Louis B. Russell Award, National American Heart Association, 1995
  • Katherine A. Lembright Research Award, National American Heart Association, 2004
  • Distinguished Alumna Award, The Johns Hopkins University, 2008

Professional Activities

  • Board of Directors, National American Heart Association 
  • Board of Directors, National Lipid Association
  • Chair, NIH, Social Sciences, Nursing, Methods & Epidemiology-1
    Integrated Review Group
  • Expert Panel, Obesity, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  
  • President, Southeast Lipid Association (SELA)
  • Professorial Promotions Committee, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Reviewer, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    Study Section
  • Reviewer, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Study Section
  • Reviewer, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2008 - 2009
    Study Section
  • Reviewer, The Templeton Foundation, 2010
    Science, Genetics, and Religion
  • Reviewer, National Institute for Nursing Research, 2010 - 2013
    Study Section, LRP
  • Third Expert Panel, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP III): National Cholesterol Education Program, NHLBI (also ATP I)
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