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Brenda Y. Hernandez, PhD, MPH

Brenda Y. Hernandez, PhD, MPH
  • Associate Professor
    Cancer Epidemiology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Principal Investigator
    Hawaii Tumor Registry
  • Associate Director
    Pathology Shared Resource
  • Adjunct Adjunct Assistant Professor
    Department of Pathology
    John A. Burns School of Medicine


  • PhD, Epidemiology
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • MPH, Epidemiology
    Yale University School of Medicine

Research Focus

Dr. Hernandez's research focuses on infection and cancer. Viruses associated with human cancers include human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and C, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 8, and Kaposi's sarcoma. These infectious agents influence the development of cancer through varied mechanisms including interaction of viral genes with host tumor-suppressor genes, integration of virus into host DNA, and the establishment of persistent or latent infections. Understanding the role of host response to infection is also key to elucidating the mechanism of viral carcinogenesis. Dr. Hernandez has been involved in studies of HPV in Hawaii as well as in other Asia-Pacific communities. These studies have examined the natural history of HPV including viral prevalence, incidence, clearance and persistence and the dynamics of viral transmission in men and women. Her research on HPV also focuses on examining serologic measures of infection, methods of self-collection for viral detection in men, and the detection of HPV in genital and oropharphyngeal tumor tissue. Dr. Hernandez runs an HPV testing laboratory that uses state-of-the-art DNA-based methods to detect the virus. Dr. Hernandez is also involved in studies of the role of hepatitis B and C in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma. This research is particularly relevant to Hawaii as it has the highest incidence of liver cancer in the U.S.


  • Hernandez BY, Wilkens LR, Unger ER, Steinau M, Markowitz L, Garvin K, Thompson PJ, Shvetsov YB, O'Dillon K, Dunne EF. Evaluation of genital self-sampling methods for HPV detection in males. J Clin Virol 2013 Sept;58(1):168-75.
  • Hernandez BY, Kaopua LS, Scanlan L, Ah Ching J, Kamemoto LE, Thompson PJ, et al. Cervical and anal human papillomavirus infection in adult women in American Samoa. Asia Pac J Public Health 2013 Jan 25(1):19-31.
  • Hernandez BY, Shvetsov YB, Goodman MT, Wilkens LR, Thompson P, Zhu X, et al. Reduced clearance of penile human papillomavirus infection in uncircumcised men. J Infect Dis 2010 201(9):1340-3.
  • Hernandez BY, Barnholtz-Sloan J, German RR, Giuliano A, Goodman MT, King JB, et al. Burden of invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the penis in the United States, 1998-2003. Cancer 2008 113(10 Suppl):2883-91.
  • Hernandez BY, Wilkens LR, Zhu X, Thompson P, McDuffie K, Shvetsov YB, et al. Transmission of human papillomavirus in heterosexual couples. Emerg Infect Dis 2008 14(6):888-94.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • B. Hernandez, Principal Investigator
    NIMHD U54 MD008149 (Norris)
    Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results
    The major goal of this project is to collect information on all new cancer diagnoses in Hawaii, as part of the SEER program, for utilization in epidemiological research.
    8/1/10 – 7/31/17
  • B. Hernandez, Co-Investigator
    NIMHD U54 MD008149 (Norris)
    RCMI Translational Research Network
    The overall goal of RTRN is to reduce health disparities among diverse minority populations through a clinical and translational research network.
    9/1/05 – 6/30/17
  • B. Hernandez, Project Co-Leader
    NCI U54 CA143727 (Vogel)
    University of Guam/Cancer Research Center of Hawaii Partnership – Pilot Project 4: Oral Microbiome
    This pilot study will evaluate the oral microbiome among long-term areca nut chewers with leukoplakia, as well as long-term areca nut chewers and matched non-chewer controls with no evidence of oral disease.
    9/1/09 – 8/31/14
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