Brenda Y. Hernandez, PhD, MPH

Brenda Y. Hernandez, PhD, MPH

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Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Principal Investigator, Hawaiʻi Tumor Registry, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Co-Director, Pathology Shared Resource, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor (Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Associate Graduate Faculty, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Associate Graduate Faculty, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, John A. Burns School of Medicine University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

PhD, Epidemiology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
MPH, Epidemiology, Yale University School of Medicine


NIH Cancer, Heart, and Sleep Epidemiology / Cancer and Hematologic Disorders Study Section
Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health
Meiji Endowment for Research Training
National Cancer Institute National Research Training Award

Research Focus

A major focus of my research is the role of infectious agents in the development and progression of cancer.  Our research team has conducted extensive investigations of the molecular epidemiology and natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of anogenital and head & neck cancers, including collaborative studies in the U.S., Asia, Pacific, and Africa. We have investigated the role of the oral bacterial microbiome and bacterial metabolites in hepatocellular carcinoma and other cancers. My research also focuses on understanding racial/ethnic disparities in cancer development and outcomes with a focus on molecular biomarkers of risk and progression.

Selected Publications

Hernandez BY, Zhu X, Nagata M, Loo L, Chan O, Wong LL. (2023). Cyanotoxin exposure and hepatocellular carcinoma. Toxicology. 487:153470.

Hernandez BY, Zhu X, Risch HA, Lu L, Ma X, Irwin ML, Lim JK, Taddei TH, Pawlish KS, Stroup AM, Brown R, Wang Z, Wong LL, Yu H. (2022). Oral cyanobacteria and hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 31(1):221-229.

Hernandez BY, Zhu X, Sotto P, Paulino Y. (2021). Oral exposure to environmental Cyanobacteria toxins: implications for cancer risk. Environ Int; 148: 06381.

Hernandez BY, Zhu X, Goodman MT, Gatewood R, Mendiola P, Quinata K, Paulino YC. (2017). Betel nut chewing, oral premalignant lesions, and the oral microbiome. PLoS One; 12(2):e0172196.

Hernandez BY, Lynch CF, Chan OTM, Goodman MT, Unger ER, Steinau M, Thompson TD, Gillison M, Lyu C, Saraiya M. (2019). Human papillomavirus DNA detection, p16INK4a, and oral cavity cancer in a U.S. population. Oral Oncol; 91: 92-96.

Hernandez BY, Tareg AC, Reichhardt M, Agapito A, Zhu X, Sy A, Yuji A, Killeen J, Chan O, Buenconsejo-Lum LE. (2018). Randomized controlled trial evaluating the utility of urine HPV DNA for cervical cancer screening in a Pacific Island population. J Glob Health Rep;2. pii: e2018016.

Hernandez BY, Rahman M, Lynch CF, Cozen W, Unger ER, Steinau M, Thompson T, Sibug Saber M, Altekruse SF, Goodman MT, Powers A, Lyu C, Saraiya M, The HPV Typing of Cancer Workgroup. (2016). p16 (INK4A) expression in invasive laryngeal cancers. Papillomavirus Research; 2: 52–55.

Taparra K, Fukui J, Killeen J, Sumida K, Loo LWM, Hernandez BY. (2021). Racial and ethnic disparities in rates of invasive second breast cancer among women with ductal carcinoma in situ in Hawai'i. JAMA Netw Open. Oct 1;4(10)

Loo LWM, Williams M, Hernandez BY. (2019). The high and heterogeneous burden of breast cancer in Hawaii: A unique multiethnic U.S. Population. Cancer Epidemiol. Feb;58:71-76.

For a complete list of Dr. Hernandez's publications, see her NIH MyBibliography website.

Active Grants

B. Hernandez, Principal Investigator
National Cancer Institute
"Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results"
05/01/2018 – 04/30/2028

B. Hernandez/N. Palafox/R. Leon-Guerrero (Multiple Principal Investigators)
National Cancer Institute
"Pacific Island Partnership for Cancer Health Equity"
09/28/2009 – 08/31/2025

B. Hernandez, Project Co-Leader
National Cancer Institute
"Cyanotoxins and Liver Cancer Development in Two High-Risk Populations"
09/28/2021 – 08/31/2024

B. Hernandez, Co-Investigator (MPI: L. Loo, I. Cheng, MPI)
National Cancer Institute
"Role of 27-hydroxycholesterol in Breast Cancer: A Population-Based Multiethnic Study"
03/01/2019 – 02/28/2024

B. Hernandez, Principal Investigator
National Cancer Institute
NIH/NCI 75N91023P00125
"Patterns of Care/Quality of Care Study Diagnosis Year 2020 Breast and Colorectal Cancer"
2022 – 2023

B. Hernandez, Co-Investigator (PI Buenconsejo-Lum)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"USAPI Pacific Regional Central Cancer Registry"
2017 – 2024