Ellen Velie

Ellen Velie, PhD

  • Professor, Epidemiology


PhD, Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley
MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, Berkeley
BA, History and Literature, Harvard/Radcliffe College, Cambridge


Dr. Velie studies nutritional and cancer epidemiology with a particular focus on the health of disadvantaged populations. She has over 20 years of experience as a nutritional epidemiologist working first in the area of perinatal epidemiology and then cancer epidemiology. She completed postdoctoral training through the Cancer Prevention Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute before joining the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Michigan State University (MSU) in 2000. In 2014 she moved to her current appointment as Professor of Epidemiology at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health.

Dr. Velie’s research focuses primarily on life course socio-cultural and early life nutritional risk factors (e.g. diet and body size) and primarily breast cancer. She also studies the use of ‘race’ in epidemiologic research and how it’s misused as a genetic construct in epidemiologic research. She is interested in expanding her research to collaborate with other public health practitioners and communities to develop early life nutrition interventions to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and breast cancer. Currently she is leading a large population-based case-control study of breast cancer in young African American and White women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds (information available at: www.ywhhs.org).