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Nora Lee, PhD

Assistant Research Professor
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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BS, Physiology, University of California at Davis; PhD, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health


Nora Lee received a PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, where her dissertation research focused on perinatal outcomes in China, examining prenatal secondhand smoke exposure and prepregnancy maternal BMI in relation to birth outcomes.  Before she joined the faculty at Drexel University, she managed epidemiologic studies for 10 years at both the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health.  In addition to her primary faculty appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dr. Lee has a secondary appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Drexel College of Medicine, and is a Research Fellow at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.  She is currently a co-investigator on multiple studies, including EARLI (Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation), a multi-site study following pregnant women who already have an older child with autism and assessing the newborn’s development up to three years of age.  She is also the principal investigator on a project to reduce youth access to tobacco in the State of Louisiana, and is engaged in the evaluation of a recent policy implemented to eliminate smoking in Philadelphia's public housing communities. She was a contributing author of the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report on The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, and is co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications.  In addition to her research, Dr. Lee serves on the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Team, is a contributor to the Drexel Maternal and Child Health Working Group, and mentors both undergraduate and graduate students.

Research Interests

  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Reproductive and Perinatal Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Tobacco Control


Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Zheng C, McConnell R, Lee NL, Schauer JJ, Thayer B, Pandey J, Vok HE.  Air toxics in relation to autism diagnosis, phenotype, and severity in a US family-based study.  Environmental Health Perspectives 2018; 126(3):037004. 

Sun J, Robinson L, Lee NL, Welles S, Evans AA.  No contribution of lifestyle and environmental exposures to gender discrepancy of liver disease severity in chronic hepatitis B infection: Observations from the Haimen City Cohort.  PLOS ONE 2017; 12(4):e0175482.

Klassen AC, Lee NL, Pankiewicz A, Ward R, Brosbe M, Ogbenna BT, Wade A, Bromah M, Osayameh O, Rule AM, Coffman R, Bragg V, Mallya G.  Secondhand smoke exposure and smoke-free policy introduction in Philadelphia public housing. Tobacco Regulatory Science 2017; 3(2):192-203.

Rosen B, Lee BK, Lee NL, Yang Y, Burstyn I.  Maternal smoking and autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2015 Jun; 45(6):1689-98.

Lee NL, Samet JM, Yang G, Zhou M, Yang J, Correa A, Lees PSJ. Prenatal secondhand smoke exposure and infant birth weight in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2012; 9(10):3398-3420 (online).

Newschaffer CJ, Croen LA, Fallin MD, Hertz-Picciotto I, Nguyen DV, Lee NL, Berry CA, Farzadegan H, Hess HN, Landa RJ, Levy SE, Massolo ML, Meyerer SC, Mohammed SM, Oliver MC, Ozonoff S, Pandey J, Schroeder A, Shedd-Wise KM.  Infant siblings and the investigation of autism risk factors.  Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012; 4:7 (online).

Karapurkar T, Lee NL, Kresch Curran L, Newschaffer CJ, Yeargin-Allsopp M.  The epidemiology of autism and autism spectrum disorders.  In: Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Children, Gupta VB (ed.).  New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2004, pp. 17-42.

Lee NL, Samet JM.  ACE Forum Report:  The making of an epidemiologist--necessary components for doctoral education and training.  Annals of Epidemiology 2003 Sep; 13(8):552-556.

Newschaffer CJ, Fallin MD, Lee NL.  Heritable and non-heritable risk factors for autism.  Epidemiologic Reviews 2002; 24(2):137-153.

Samet JM, Lee NL.  Bridging the gap:  Perspectives on translating epidemiologic evidence into policy.  American Journal of Epidemiology 2001 Dec 15; 154(12 Suppl):S1-S3.

Jackson LW, Lee NL, Samet JM.  Frequency of policy recommendations in epidemiologic publications.  American Journal of Public Health 1999 Aug; 89(8):1206-11


PBHL 530ES:  Introduction to Epidemiology

EPI 556:  Perinatal Epidemiology

PBHL 310:  Burden of Disease

Additional Information

Contributing Author:  The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA, 2006.