Laura W. Bowers

Educational Background

  • B.A., Psychology, Swarthmore College, 2000
  • Coordinated Program in Dietetics, University of Texas at Austin, 2005
  • Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 2014
  • Post-Doc, Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014-2018

Certificates & Licenses

  • Registered Dietitian, Commission on Dietetic Registration, 2005-Present

Dissertation Title

  • Obesity and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer: Determining the Role of Local Aromatase Expression

Awards and Honors

  • American Association for Cancer Research Scholar-in-Training Award, 2018
  • The Obesity Society-Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Challenge Award, 2017
  • NCI Translational Research in Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Research Education Program Fellowship, 2017
  • Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Developmental Funding Program Pilot Award, 2016
  • Cancer Control Education Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC Chapel Hill, 2014-2017
  • American Association for Cancer Research Scholar-in-Training Award, 2013
  • Tyrrell E. Flawn Graduate Fellowship in Nutrition, 2013
  • DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Pre-doctoral Training Award, 2011-2014
  • Graduate Recruitment Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2009

Activities and Memberships

  • American Association for Cancer Research, Associate Member
  • American Society for Preventive Oncology, Member
  • The Obesity Society, Member


Obesity is associated with an increased risk of and/or mortality from several forms of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. Given that obesity rates in the U.S. are now approaching 40%, the development of mechanism-based interventions for this population could have a significant impact on public health. My research program focuses on investigating the role of chronic adipose tissue inflammation in the link between obesity and breast and colon cancer. I am exploring obesity-associated factors that may stimulate local, cancer-promoting inflammation, including changes in the gut microbiota, as well as the downstream effects of this inflammation. Through enhanced understanding of the mechanisms mediating the obesity-cancer link, I hope to identify novel dietary and pharmaceutical interventions that reduce the impact of obesity on cancer risk and outcomes.

Discovery Publications

  • Bowers LW, Rossi EL, McDonell SB, Doerstling SS, Khatib SA, Doerstling SS, Lineberger CG, Albright JE, Tang X, deGraffenried LA, Hursting SD. Leptin signaling mediates obesity-associated CSC enrichment and EMT in preclinical TNBC models. Mol Cancer Res, 2018; 16:869-79.
  • Rossi EL, Khatib SA, Doerstling SS, Bowers LW, Pruski M, Ford NA, Glickman R, Niu M, Yang P, Cui Z, DiGiovanni J, Hursting SD. Resveratrol inhibits obesity-associated adipose tissue dysfunction and tumor growth in a mouse model of postmenopausal claudin-low breast cancer. Mol Carcinog. 2018; 57:393-407.
  • Rossi EL, Dunlap SM, Bowers LW, Khatib SA, Doerstling SS, Smith LA, Ford NA, Holley D, Brown PH, Estecio MR, Kusewitt DF, deGraffenried LA, Bultman SJ, Hursting SD. Energy balance modulation impacts epigenetic reprogramming, ERa and ERb expression, mammary tumor development in MMTV-neu transgenic mice. Cancer Res. 2017; 77:2500-11. 
  • Rossi EL, de Angel R, Bowers LW, Khatib S, Smith LA, Van Buren E, Bhardwaj P, Giri D, Estecio M, Troester M, Hair B, Kirk E, Gong T, Shen J, Dannenberg AJ, Hursting SD. Obesity-associated alterations in inflammation, epigenetics and mammary tumor growth persist in formerly obese mice. Cancer Prev Res. 2016; 9:339-48.
  • Bowers LW, Wiese M, Brenner AJ, Rossi EL, Tekmal RR, Hursting SD, deGraffenried LA. Obesity suppresses estrogen receptor beta expression in breast cancer cells via a HER2-mediated pathway. PLoS One. 2015; 10:e0145452.
  • Ford NA, Rossi EL, Barnett K, Yang P, Bowers LW, Hideka B, Kimler BF, Carlson SE, Shureiqi I, deGraffenried LA, Fabian CJ, Hursting SD. Omega-3-acid ethyl esters block the pro-tumorigenic effects of obesity in mouse models of postmenopausal basal-like and claudin low breast cancer. Cancer Prev Res. 2015; 8:796-806.
  • Bowers LW, Brenner AJ, Hursting SD, Tekmal RR, deGraffenried LA. Obesity-associated systemic interleukin 6 promotes pre-adipocyte aromatase expression via increased breast cancer cell prostaglandin E2 production. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 149:49-57.
  • Cavazos DA, deGraffenried MJ, Apte SA, Bowers LW, Whelan KA, deGraffenried LA. Obesity promotes aerobic glycolysis in prostate cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2014; 66:1179-86.
  • Bowers LW, Maximo IXF, Brenner AJ, Beeram M, Hursting SD, Price RS, Tekmal RR, deGraffenried LA. NSAID use attenuates breast cancer recurrence in obese women: Role of prostaglandin-aromatase interactions. Cancer Res. 2014; 74:4446-57.
  • Bowers LW, Cavazos DA, Brenner AJ, Hursting SD, Maximo IXF, deGraffenried LA. Obesity enhances nongenomic estrogen receptor cross-talk with the PI3K/Akt and MAPK pathways to promote in vitro measures of breast cancer progression. Breast Cancer Res. 2013; 15:R59.


Laura Bowers
Assistant Professor 

Office: STON 206
Address: 700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Phone: 765.496.0143
Fax: 765.494.0674


Department of Nutrition Science, 700 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059(765) 494-8228, Fax: (765) 494-0674

© 2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by: Nutrition Science

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue Marketing and Media at