JoEllen Welsh, PhD

Welsh Lab - University at Albany

Dr. Welsh directs a basic research lab focused on nutrition and chronic disease at the University at Albany Cancer Research Center.  We are located on the Health Sciences Campus of UAlbany in Rensselaer, NY. 

Dr. Welsh is a native of New York City and received her BA degree in Biology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She completed her PhD degree in Nutritional Science at Cornell University in Ithaca NY. Dr. Welsh's first academic position was at the University of Ottawa in 1985 where she established a research lab focused on vitamin D and chronic disease. In 1994 Dr. Welsh moved back to the US as a Senior Scientist at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, NY. Pending closure of the W. Alton Jones facility in 1998, Dr. Welsh was recruited to the University of Notre Dame where she became the first woman ever appointed as a Full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  In 2008 Dr. Welsh moved to UAlbany, a SUNY Research Campus, as an Empire Innovations Professor at the Cancer Research Center. In 2017, Dr. Welsh was named a SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest achievement in the State University of NY system.  

Dr. Welsh is internationally recognized as an expert on nutrition and breast cancer, particularly the role of vitamin D, with over 100 publications, reviews and chapters. She has secured more than $4.8M in research funding since being appointed an Empire Innovation Professor at University at Albany. 

Dr. Welsh has a long history of teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. At the University of Ottawa, she taught nutrition, metabolism and biochemistry courses. While at Notre Dame, Dr. Welsh developed a hands-on undergraduate Cell Biology Laboratory and taught a semester-long Cancer Biology course for graduate and undergraduate students. At UAlbany, Dr. Welsh continues to teach Cancer Biology and runs the Cancer Genomics Journal Club every Fall.  

​In addition to her academic work, Dr. Welsh is extensively involved in the non-profit Vitamin D Workshop, an international scientific/educational organization devoted to the health implications of vitamin D.  She is an inaugural member of the Board of Directors and currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer of the organization. She successfully obtained a five year, $250,000 NIH conference grant for the Vitamin D Workshop to organize annual international scientific conferences on the biology of vitamin D. 



Contact Information:​

Dr. JoEllen Welsh

Empire Innovations Professor

SUNY Distinguished Professor

University at Albany

Department of Environmental Health Sciences

1 Discovery Drive Suite 342B

Rensselaer, NY 12144

518 591-7232

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