Cara Frankenfeld, PhD

Cara Frankenfeld, PhD

Associate Professor

College of Health and Human Services

Other Positions:

Affiliated Faculty

Research Theme:


Key Interests:

Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Metabolome, Nutrition, Geography, Environmental Health, Health Disparities, Microbiome


PhD, Epidemiology, University of Washington

Research Focus

I am an epidemiologist with expertise in complex exposures, with particular focus on diet, environment, and geographic factors. My current research focuses primarily in two areas: (1) the multi-directional association between diet and environmental exposures with the gut microbiome, and health impacts associated with these relationships; and, (2) the interaction between personal characteristics and health care structures with spatially distributed inequalities. The first area of work contributes to our understanding of how different gut microbiomes across influence health effects through different responses diet and environmental contaminants. The second area of work contributes to our understanding of how to reduce cancer outcome disparities in groups based on race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic factors.

Current Projects

■ Temporal Consistency and Metabolomics Profiles of Gut Microbial Metabotypes that can Produce O-desmethylanglolensin from the Soy Isoflavone Daidzein – Individuals exhibit interindividual differences in the metabolism of some nutrients due to their gut microbial profiles. A compound found in high amounts in soy founds, known as daidzein, exhibits this interindividual variation in its metabolism to end-products equol and O-desmethylangolensin (ODMA).

■ Cancer Health Disparities: Modeling Social, Hospital, and Policy Factors Associated with Colorectal Cancer Survival – This project is exploring structural characteristics and personal characteristics that may influence cancer treatment outcomes. The aims of work are to, for survival and time-to-treatment, identify hospital/provider-level characteristics that are associated and evaluate the interaction between hospital/provider-level characteristics and patient-level characteristics. Data linkages between American Community Survey, American Hospital Association Annual Survey, and selected state cancer registries are being analyzed.

Select Publications

C. L. Frankenfeld et al., Time-to- treatment and survival-time for colorectal tumors and diagnosing hospital cancer- related diagnostic and treatment capabilities in Georgia. Cancer Epidemiol, 65:101684 (2020).

M. Slavin et al.,What is needed for evidence-based dietary recommendations for migraine: a call to action for nutrition and microbiome research. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain,10:1566-1581 (2019).



College of Health and Human Services

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