Peter Kraft

Peter Kraft

Professor of Epidemiology


Other Positions

Co-Director, Computational Biology & Quantitative Genetics Master's Program


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Biostatistics


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


My research concentrates on the design and analysis of genetic association studies, with particular emphasis on studies linking variation in germline DNA to cancer risk. I have played a key role in multiple international consortia studying genetics and other exposures in relation to cancer risk over the last ten years: I have been a member of the statistical working group of the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium since its inception, and currently chair the BPC3 steering committee; I played a leading role in the design and analysis of GWAS of breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers as part of the NCI's Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility and PanScan projects; and I chair the Analytic Working Group for the NCI's "post-GWAS" GAME-ON consortium, which aims to better understand the biological mechanisms underlying GWAS-identified cancer risk markers at five cancer sites (including breast and lung) and their public health implications.

I am also the contact PI for the epidemiology project of the breast cancer arm of GAME-ON, which focuses on gene-environment interactions and risk prediction. I have been the primary statistical geneticist for the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) for over ten years, and oversee the genotype databases for both studies, including genome-wide association data on over 20,000 subjects. I have collaborated on numerous analyses in the NHS and HPFS examining associations between genetic markers, behaviors (including diet and smoking), and risk of complex diseases. I have also collaborated with NHS investigators on the analyses of metabolite profiles in a case-control study of pancreatic cancer.

My current methodological research focuses on 1) efficient and interpretable "gene x environment interaction" analyses, 2) genetic risk prediction using common and rare genetic variation, biomarkers (including metabolites), and clinical and environmental risk factors, and 3) methods linking low-frequency variation, emerging functional annotation, and risk of complex disease.


Risk of Late-Onset Breast Cancer in Genetically Predisposed Women.

Boddicker NJ, Hu C, Weitzel JN, Kraft P, Nathanson KL, Goldgar DE, Na J, Huang H, Gnanaolivu RD, Larson N, Yussuf A, Yao S, Vachon CM, Trentham-Dietz A, Teras L, Taylor JA, Scott CE, Sandler DP, Pesaran T, Patel AV, Palmer JR, Ong IM, Olson JE, O'Brien K, Neuhausen S, Martinez E, Ma H, Lindstrom S, Le Marchand L, Kooperberg C, Karam R, Hunter DJ, Hodge JM, Haiman C, Gaudet MM, Gao C, LaDuca H, Lacey JV, Dolinsky JS, Chao E, Carter BD, Burnside ES, Bertrand KA, Bernstein L, Auer PW, Ambrosone C, Yadav S, Hart SN, Polley EC, Domchek SM, Couch FJ.

J Clin Oncol. 2021 Jul 22. JCO2100531. PMID: 34292776

Hepcidin-regulating iron metabolism genes and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: a pathway analysis of genome-wide association studies.

Julián-Serrano S, Yuan F, Wheeler W, Benyamin B, Machiela MJ, Arslan AA, Beane-Freeman LE, Bracci PM, Duell EJ, Du M, Gallinger S, Giles GG, Goodman PJ, Kooperberg C, Marchand LL, Neale RE, Shu XO, Van Den Eeden SK, Visvanathan K, Zheng W, Albanes D, Andreotti G, Ardanaz E, Babic A, Berndt SI, Brais LK, Brennan P, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, Buring JE, Chanock SJ, Childs EJ, Chung CC, Fabiánová E, Foretová L, Fuchs CS, Gaziano JM, Gentiluomo M, Giovannucci EL, Goggins MG, Hackert T, Hartge P, Hassan MM, Holcátová I, Holly EA, Hung RI, Janout V, Kurtz RC, Lee IM, Malats N, McKean D, Milne RL, Newton CC, Oberg AL, Perdomo S, Peters U, Porta M, Rothman N, Schulze MB, Sesso HD, Silverman DT, Thompson IM, Wactawski-Wende J, Weiderpass E, Wenstzensen N, White E, Wilkens LR, Yu H, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zhong J, Kraft P, Li D, Campbell PT, Petersen GM, Wolpin BM, Risch HA, Amundadottir LT, Klein AP, Yu K, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Jul 13. PMID: 34258619

Risk of Breast Cancer Among Carriers of Pathogenic Variants in Breast Cancer Predisposition Genes Varies by Polygenic Risk Score.

Gao C, Polley EC, Hart SN, Huang H, Hu C, Gnanaolivu R, Lilyquist J, Boddicker NJ, Na J, Ambrosone CB, Auer PL, Bernstein L, Burnside ES, Eliassen AH, Gaudet MM, Haiman C, Hunter DJ, Jacobs EJ, John EM, Lindström S, Ma H, Neuhausen SL, Newcomb PA, O'Brien KM, Olson JE, Ong IM, Patel AV, Palmer JR, Sandler DP, Tamimi R, Taylor JA, Teras LR, Trentham-Dietz A, Vachon CM, Weinberg CR, Yao S, Weitzel JN, Goldgar DE, Domchek SM, Nathanson KL, Couch FJ, Kraft P.

J Clin Oncol. 2021 Jun 08. JCO2001992. PMID: 34101481


Dozens of new genetic regions linked to breast cancer

Two studies represent the largest-ever examination of the inherited genetic contribution to the risk of getting breast cancer For immediate release: October 23, 2017 Boston, MA – Two large genome-wide association studies of thousands of women have identified…