ResearchOur PeopleJessica Hunter

Jessica Ezzell Hunter, PhD

Jessica Ezzell Hunter, PhD, is a genetic epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impact that genomic variation has on health outcomes. She has led and collaborated on numerous studies and consortiums to improve health outcomes in individuals with hereditary cancer syndromes, genetic intellectual and developmental disability syndromes, and other complex genetic conditions.

Dr. Hunter is active with the National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) as co-chair of its Actionability Working Group, which generates evidence-based assessments of clinical actionability associated with genome variation. She collaborates on the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research 2 (CSER2) consortium study, Cancer Health Assessments Reaching Many (CHARM), aimed at increasing access to and uptake of genetic services among diverse populations. She collaborated on a study on implementation of universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome to increase the identification of individuals with Lynch syndrome. She is currently Site PI for a Cancer Moonshot Initiative-funded study on optimizing the implementation of universal tumor screening programs for Lynch syndrome (IMPULSS) across diverse health care systems.

Dr. Hunter leads mixed-method approaches to improving outcomes associated with maternal stress among mothers of children with fragile X syndrome who also carry a premutation allele. She also collaborates on studies aimed at characterizing risk factors associated with chromosome 21 nondisjunction and clinical outcomes (e.g., congenital heart disease) in Down syndrome.

Additionally, Dr. Hunter is the chair of the Center for Health Research’s Advisory for Biospecimen Committee, which oversees access to biospecimens used for research that are stored in the Northwest Biobank and the Northwest Tissue Library.

Dr. Hunter joined CHR in 2013 following postdoctoral training at Emory University and Oregon Health & Science University. She earned her doctorate in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University and her master’s degree in human genetics from Tulane University.

Selected Current Studies

  • Implementing Universal Lynch Syndrome Screening across Multiple Organizations (NCI)
  • ClinGen2: Expert Curation and EHR Integration (NHGRI)
  • Exome Sequencing in Diverse Populations in Colorado and Oregon (NHGRI)

Selected Publications

  • JE Hunter, KA Arnold, JE Cook, J Zepp, MJ Gilmore, AF Rope, JV Davis, KM Bergen, E Esterberg, KR Muessig, SK Peterson, S Syngal, L Acheson, G Wiesner, J Reiss, KA Goddard. (2017) Universal screening for Lynch syndrome among patients with colorectal cancer: patient perspectives on screening and sharing results with at-risk relatives. Fam Cancer 16(3): 377-387.
  • JE Hunter, SA Irving, LG Biesecker, A Buchanan, B Jensen, K Lee, CL Martin, L Milko, K Muessig, AD Niehaus, J O’Daniel, MA Piper, EM Ramos, SD Schully, AF Scott, A Slavotinek, A Sobreira, N Strande, M Weaver, EM Webber, MS Williams, JS Berg, JP Evans, KAB Goddard, on behalf of the ClinGen Resource. (2016) A standardized, evidence-based protocol to assess clinical actionability of genetic disorders associated with genomic variation. Genet Med 18(12): 1258-1268.
  • JE Hunter, J Zepp, M Gilmore, J Davis, E Esterberg, KR Muessig, SK Peterson, S Syngal, L Acheson, MD, G Wiesner, J Reiss, KAB Goddard. (2015) Universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome: Assessment of colorectal cancer patient perspectives on benefits and barriers. Cancer 121(18):3281-3289.
  • J Visootsak, L Huddleston, A Buterbaugh, A Perkins, S Sherman, J Hunter. (2015) Influence of congenital heart defects on psychosocial and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with Down syndrome. Cardiology in the Young [Epub Feb 16].
  • J Hunter, O Rivero-Arias, A Angelov, E Kim, I Fotheringham, J Leal. (2014) Epidemiology of fragile X syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med Genet A 164(7):1648-1658.
  • JE Hunter, EG Allen, M Shin, LJH Bean, A Correa, C Druschel, CA Hobbs, LA O’Leary, PA Romitti, MH Royle, CP Torfs, SB Freeman, SL Sherman. (2013) The association of low socioeconomic status and the risk of having a child with Down syndrome: a report from the National Down Syndrome Project. Genet Med 15(9):698-705.
  • JE Hunter, M Leslie, G Novak, D Hamilton, L Shubeck, K Charen, A Abramowitz, MP Epstein, A Lori, E Binder, JF Cubells, SL Sherman. (2012) Depression and anxiety symptoms among women who carry the FMR1 premutation: impact of raising a child with fragile X syndrome is moderated by CRHR1 polymorphisms. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 159(5):549-559.
  • JE Hunter, MP Epstein, SW Tinker, A Abramowitz, SL Sherman. (2012) The FMR1 premutation and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): evidence for a complex inheritance. Behavior Genetics 42(3):415-422.
  • JE Hunter, MP Epstein, SW Tinker, KH Charen, SL Sherman. (2008) Fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency: evidence for additional genetic contributions to severity. Genetic Epidemiology 32(6):553-559.

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