Donghoon Lee

Research Associate

Department of Nutrition


My research primarily focuses on understanding the role of obesity and energetics (physical activity and diet) on cancer prevention and survivorship using novel approaches in large-scale observational studies and clinical trials. I seek to strengthen causal inference in my work with my expertise in diverse study designs, including observational studies and randomized controlled trials, and analytical skills (e.g., survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, prediction model). I have extensive experiences with big data and clinical trials, including national and hospital-based data and Harvard cohorts of Nurses’ Health Studies and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

My main research interests include (1) studying the role of physical activity over the life-course on chronic diseases, with specialty in cancer prevention and prognosis, and understanding the underlying mechanisms; (2) identifying nutrition and lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity-related cancers, including rare diseases such as multiple myeloma; and (3) applying recently developed methods on estimating body composition to re-examine issues in obesity research that are yet to be fully understood (i.e., obesity paradox). I also conducted numerous meta-analyses and reviews to synthesize the existing evidence to inform public health policies and guidelines related to physical activity, diet and obesity.


ScD, 2017, Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA

MS, 2013, Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA

MSc, 2012, Sport and Leisure Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

BSc, 2010, Sport and Leisure Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Selected Publications 

Lee DH, Fung TT, Tabung FK, Marinac CR, Devore EE, Rosner BA, Ghobrial IM, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL, Birmann BM. Prediagnosis dietary pattern and survival in patients with multiple myeloma (2020). International Journal of Cancer. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32928.

Jeong S, Lee DH*, Giovannucci EL. Predicted lean body mass, fat mass and risk of lung cancer: prospective US cohort study (2019). European Journal of Epidemiology. 34:1151-1160. (*co-first author)

Lee DH, Giovannucci EL. The obesity paradox in cancer: epidemiologic insights and perspectives (2019). Current Nutrition Report. 8(3):175-181.

Rezende LFM, Lee DH*, Keum N, Nimptsch K, Song M, Lee IM, Eluf-Neto J, Ogino S, Fuchs C, Meyerhardt J, Chan AT, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL, Wu K (2019). Physical activity during adolescence and risk of colorectal adenoma in later life: results from the Nurses’ Health Study 2. British Journal of Cancer. 121:86-94. (*co-first author)

Lee DH, Fung TT, Tabung FK, Colditz GA, Ghobrial IM, Rosner BA, Giovannucci EL, Birmann BM (2019). Dietary pattern and risk of multiple myeloma in two large US prospective cohort studies. Journal of National Cancer Institute Cancer Spectrum. 3(2):pkz025.

Lee DH, Rezende LFM, Eluf-Neto J, Tabung FK, Giovannucci EL (2019). Association of type and intensity of physical activity with plasma biomarkers of inflammation and insulin response. International Journal of Cancer. 145(2):360-369.

Lee DH, Rezende LFM, Hu FB, Jeon JY, Giovannucci EL (2019). Resting heart rate and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews. 35(2):e3095.

Lee DH, Yang M, Giovannucci EL, Sun Q, Chavarro JE (2019). Mushroom consumption, biomarkers, and risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study of US women and men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 110(3):666-674.

Lee DH, Keum NN, Hu FB, Rimm EB, Orav JE, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL (2018). Comparison of the association of predicted fat mass, body mass index, and other obesity indicators with type 2 diabetes risk: two large prospective studies in US men and women. European Journal of Epidemiology. 33(11):1113-1123.

Lee DH, Keum NN, Hu FB, Rimm EB, Orav JE, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL (2018). Predicted lean body mass, fat mass, and all cause and cause specific mortality in men: prospective US cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2018;362:k2575.

Lee DH, Giovannucci EL (2018). Body composition and mortality in the general population: a review of epidemiologic studies. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 243(17-18):1275-1285.

Lee DH, Keum N, Hu FB, Orav JE, Rimm EB, Sun Q, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL (2017). Development and validation of anthropometric prediction equations for lean body mass, fat mass, and percent fat using the NHANES 1999-2006. British Journal of Nutrition. 118 (10):858-866.

Lee DH, Park S, Lim SM, Lee MK, Giovannucci EL, Kim JH, Kim SI, Jeon JY (2016). Resting heart rate as a prognostic factor for mortality in patients with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 159(2):375-384.

Park S, Lee DH*, Jeon JY, J Ryu, S Kim, JY Kim, HS Park, SI Kim, BW Park. (2015). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and increased risk of breast cancer among Korean women: a case-control study. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 152(1):147-154. (*co-first author)

Keum N, Greenwood DC, Lee DH, Kim R, Aune D, Ju W, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL. (2015). Adult weight gain and adiposity-related cancers: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 107(2).

Keum N, Ju W, Lee DH, Ding E, Chung H, Goodman J, Giovannucci E (2014). Leisure-time physical activity and endometrial cancer risk: dose-response meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. International Journal of Cancer. 135(3):682-694.

Lee DH, Kim JY, Lee MK, Park JH, Kim DI, Park MK, Jeong DH, Lee JW, Chu SH, Meyerhardt JA, Ligibel J, Jones LW, Kim NK, Jeon JY (2013). Effects of a 12-week home-based exercise program on the level of physical activity, insulin, and cytokines in colorectal cancer survivors: a pilot study. Supportive Care in Cancer. 21(9):2537-2545

Full List of Publications: Google Scholar