Dr. Wilson is the tenured and founding Director of the Penn State Doctor of Public (DrPH) Program.  A cancer epidemiologist by training, Dr. Wilson has been directly responsible for $3.4M in research funding, collaborating on an additional $3.2M.  Dr. Wilson’s research focuses on the intersection between genetic and environmental factors influencing cancer risk, including trace element exposures, vitamin D metabolism, and renal cell cancer risk.  This research has identified cancer and health effects associated with environmental exposure to heavy metals including lead and arsenic at levels below previously identified thresholds.  Her work related to vitamin D metabolism has identified gene x environment interactions, and has highlighted the importance of understanding the role of genetic ancestry in vitamin D metabolism and developing improved clinical benchmarks of vitamin D status.  She has led or contributed to published research conducted among diverse population groups in the United States (American Indian/Alaska Natives, African American, rural Appalachian), Bolivia (Spanish and Quechuan), Central/Eastern Europe, Finland and Sweden.  Dr. Wilson’s work has been funded by NIH, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the US Naval Health Research Center, the US Food and Drug Administration, Pennsylvania State University, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among other non-profit entities.

Research Interests

Neoplasms; Vitamin D; North American Indians; Genotype; African Americans; Incidence; Serum; Renal Cell Carcinoma; Calcitriol Receptors; Single Nucleotide Polyorphism


  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Iowa, 2000
  • M.A., Geography, Demography certificate, University of Colorado, 1995
  • B.S., Political Science, Mathematics minor, Drake University, 1991