Jonathan Hofmann, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Senior Investigator

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch


9609 Medical Center Drive
Room SG/6E604
Rockville, MD 20850


Research Topics

Dr. Jonathan Hofmann's research is focused on evaluating the role of agricultural exposures in the etiology of multiple myeloma and other cancers, and on understanding the biological mechanisms that influence the development and progression of multiple myeloma. He is also investigating the etiology of renal cell carcinoma using both classical and molecular epidemiologic approaches.

Investigating the Effects of Agricultural Exposures on Cancer Risk

Agricultural exposures including pesticides, endotoxins, and diesel exhaust have been associated with risk of various cancers, although the biological mechanisms underlying these associations are generally not well understood. To better understand the biologic plausibility and potential mechanisms of action through which these exposures influence cancer risk. Dr. Hofmann serves as the principal investigator of the Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect in Agriculture (BEEA) study. In this molecular epidemiologic subcohort within the Agricultural Health Study, biospecimens (including blood, urine, buccal cells, and house dust) and updated information on pesticide use and other agricultural exposures were collected from over 1,600 pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina.

Within BEEA, Dr. Hofmann is investigating the relationships between agricultural exposures and intermediate biomarkers related to multiple myeloma and other cancers.

Etiologic Studies of Multiple Myeloma

The etiology of multiple myeloma, an aggressive plasma cell malignancy, remains poorly understood. A unique feature of multiple myeloma is that it is consistently preceded by a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

Dr. Hofmann is conducting molecular and genetic epidemiologic studies of multiple myeloma and its precursor MGUS, with a particular emphasis on elucidating the biological mechanisms through which obesity and immune dysregulation contribute to multiple myeloma development and progression from MGUS to multiple myeloma.

Etiologic and Health Disparities Research on Renal Cell Carcinoma

Dr. Hofmann’s research on renal cell carcinoma focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the racial disparities in this malignancy. He serves as the co-principal investigator of the U.S. Renal Cell Cancer Study, a population-based case-control study of blacks and whites in Detroit and Chicago. Dr. Hofmann is also conducting investigations of renal cell carcinoma risk in relation to occupational and environmental exposures including pesticides and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).


Dr. Hofmann received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Washington, where he conducted a longitudinal molecular epidemiologic study of organophosphate-exposed agricultural pesticide handlers for his dissertation research. After completing his doctoral degree in 2008, Dr. Hofmann joined the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) as a postdoctoral fellow. He became a research fellow in 2011, a tenure-track investigator in 2015, and was awarded NIH scientific tenure and promoted to senior investigator in 2022. He has received several awards recognizing his research, including the NCI Director’s Intramural Innovation Award, the AACR Scholar-in-Training Award, and Fellows Awards for Research Excellence from both the National Institutes of Health and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Selected Publications

  1. Hofmann JN, Birmann BM, Teras LR, Pfeiffer RM, Wang Y, Albanes D, Baris D, Colditz GA, De Roos AJ, Giles GG, Hosgood HD, Lan Q, Landgren O, Liao LM, Rothman N, Weinstein SJ, Pollak MN, Neuhouser ML, Purdue MP. Low Levels of Circulating Adiponectin Are Associated with Multiple Myeloma Risk in Overweight and Obese Individuals. Cancer Res. 2016;76(7):1935-41.
  2. Hofmann JN, Liao LM, Pollak MN, Wang Y, Pfeiffer RM, Baris D, Andreotti G, Lan Q, Landgren O, Rothman N, Purdue MP. A prospective study of circulating adipokine levels and risk of multiple myeloma. Blood. 2012;120(22):4418-20.
  3. Andreotti G, Beane Freeman LE, Shearer JJ, Lerro CC, Koutros S, Parks CG, Blair A, Lynch CF, Lubin JH, Sandler DP, Hofmann JN. Occupational Pesticide Use and Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma in the Agricultural Health Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2020;128(6):67011.
  4. Hofmann JN, Corley DA, Zhao WK, Colt JS, Shuch B, Chow WH, Purdue MP. Chronic kidney disease and risk of renal cell carcinoma: differences by race. Epidemiology. 2015;26(1):59-67.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, February 11, 2022