Vitamins & Carcinogenesis Team

Microscopic picture of cancer cells


This research program explores how components of the diet modify cellular pathways that lead to cancer and how other factors, such as genetic background and alcohol consumption, interact with nutrition to determine cancer risk. We are particularly focused on the B-vitamins and obesity as nutritional factors that determine cancer risk, and our ultimate aim is to develop strategies for cancer prevention. The team focuses on colorectal cancer and breast cancer and utilizes animal studies, cell culture studies, and human studies to accomplish our research goals.

Lab Members

Joel Mason, MD
Senior Scientist/Lab Director
Research focus: Carbon nutrients: modulation of carcinogenesis; obesity: modulation of carcinogenesis, colonic microbiome and carcinogenesis

Jennifer Lee, Ph.D.
Scientist II

Carmen Garcia, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kerry Wellenstein, Lab Manager 
Audrey Pierce, Research Tech 


  1. To define the role that availability of each of the one-carbon nutrients plays in determining the risk of common cancers and to determine the nature of the interactions between these nutrients in this regard.
  2. To determine how genetic differences interact with dietary antagonists of one-carbon nutrients in determining cancer risk.
  3. To define the cellular pathways by which obesity, and related factors, enhance cancer risk and to explore means of attenuating that risk.

Team Members

Joel B. Mason, MD
Lead Scientist, Senior Scientist
Research focus: 1) 1-Carbon nutrients: modulation of carcinogenesis 2) Obesity: modulation of carcinogenesis 3) Colonic microbiome and carcinogenesis

Audrey Pierce, Senior Research Technician
Abigail Thompson, Staff Assistant
Chris Pereira, Research Administrator I