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Theresa Swift-Scanlan, PhD, MS, BSN, BS, RN

Assistant Professor

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 503

Phone: (919) 966-1806


Specialty Area: Adult Health

Theresa Swift-Scanlan began her career with a B.S. and M.S. in Molecular Biology and worked at marine biology research facilities in Norfolk and Baltimore. She entered nursing following a two year tour of duty in the United States Peace Corps, graduating with her BSN and PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Dr. Swift-Scanlan has worked extensively on the genetics of complex illnesses, with an emphasis on breast cancer. Her program of research focuses on the epigenetics of breast cancer and its applications for early detection and treatment planning. She is particularly interested in the association of environmental exposures to estrogen, tobacco, and alcohol with epigenetic changes in breast cancer, and the clinical implications of these investigations for improved risk assessment. Dr. Swift-Scanlan was awarded a predoctoral NRSA from the NINR, a Department of Defense Predoctoral Traineeship Award, and a Doctoral Scholarship in Cancer Nursing from the American Cancer Society to conduct her dissertation research on associations between clinical factors, DNA methylation and breast cancer. Additionally, Dr. Swift-Scanlan's two year clinical research residency involved a national study funded by the Oncology Nursing Foundation to study the influence of oncology nursing practice on patient outcomes in acute care and radiation settings, as well as phase II and III studies investigating the effects of an exercise intervention on ameliorating fatigue in persons undergoing adjuvant therapy for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Dr. Swift-Scanlan is a co-inventor on a patent that quantifies methylation in biological samples and which significantly increases the throughput of clinical samples with scarce tissues and/or limited cellularity. She has taught genetics at the graduate and undergraduate levels and served as a consultant for a web-based genetics education project for clinicians sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Nursing. Dr. Swift-Scanlan is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, the International Society of Nurses in Genetics, the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, and the American Association of Cancer Research.

Fackler MJ, Malone K, Zhang Z, Schilling E, Garrett-Mayer E, Swift-Scanlan T, et al. Quantitative Multiplex Methylation-Specific PCR Analysis Doubles Detection of Tumor Cells in Breast Ductal Fluid. Clinical Cancer Research 2006. 12: 3306-3310.

Swift-Scanlan T, Blackford A, Argani P, Sukumar S, and Fackler MJ. Two color Quantitative Multiplex Methylation Specific PCR. Biotechniques 2006. 40:210-219.

Swift-Scanlan T, Coughlin JM, Lan TH, Potash JB, Ashworth RG, et al. Characterization of CTG/CAG repeats on chromosome 18: A study of bipolar disorder. Psychiatr Genet 2005. 15:91-99.

Swift-Scanlan T, Lan TH, Fallin MD, Coughlin JM, Potash JB, et al. Genetic analysis of the (CTG)n NOTCH4 polymorphism in 65 multiplex bipolar pedigrees. Psychiatr Genet 2002; 12:43-47.

McInnis MG, Swift-Scanlan T, Mahoney AT, Vincent J, Verheyen G, Lan TH, et al. Allelic distribution of CTG18.1 in Caucasian populations: association studies in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ataxia. Mol Psychiatry 2000; 5:439-442.

Breschel TS, McInnis MG, Margolis RL, Sirugo G, Corneliussen B, Simpson SG et al. A novel, heritable, expanding CTG repeat in an intron of the SEF2-1 gene on chromosome 18q21.1. Hum Mol Genet 1997; 6:1855-1863.