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Carmen J Marsit, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine
Co-Director, Program in Cancer Epidemiology, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Pharmacology & Toxicology
Community and Family Medicine

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Ph.D. 2004

Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine
Quantitative Biomedical Sciences


Contact Information:

HB 7650
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Hanover NH 03755

Office: Remsen 520
Phone: 603-650-1825
Fax: 603-650-1129
Email: Carmen.J.Marsit@Dartmouth.edu

Professional Interests:

The broad goal of Dr. Marsitís research program is to understand how the environment contributes to health and disease by studying molecular mechanisms that may be responsible. The laboratory's focus is on epigenetic regulation and works to describe the impact the environment has on the human epigenome.
This work is accomplished by taking an interdisciplinary and multi-modal approach to understanding the pathogenesis of human disease, utilizing the power of epidemiology and population-based research to study the effects of the environment on multiple facets of epigenetic regulation while examining mechanistic questions in controlled in-vitro experiments. Dr. Marsitís research has examined environment epigenetic impacts on two distinct, yet highly related biologic processes: carcinogenesis and human development. In those settings, his laboratory examines DNA methylation and miRNA expression as key epigenetic mechanisms of interest.
This research aims to provide a sound scientific basis for the emerging paradigm linking the environment experienced during in utero development to health and disease throughout life.

Studies in the laboratory are aimed at identifying novel biomarkers of cancer risk and prognosis through the examination of epigenetic alterations. The laboratory uses genome-scale tools to examine DNA methylation and miRNA expression in human clinical samples, and through careful analysis, to identify novel markers, which we can then translate into clinical use.

Other studies examine the hypothesis that the intrauterine environment experienced by a developing fetus can influence the epigenome of the infantís placenta. This functional alteration of the placenta can thereby program the health of the infant both at birth and likely well beyond. Some of the earliest phenotypes which can be examined to test this hypothesis are those of neurobehavioral development. Through collaborations at Women and Infant Hospital of Rhode Island, the Childrenís Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center at Dartmouth, and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Marsit and his laboratory are profiling the placental epigenome and identifying relationships between epigenetic mechanisms at work in the placenta and the infantís newborn neurobehavior.

Paramount to meeting the objectives of this research program is creating a collaborative and multidisciplinary team of students, clinicians, epidemiologists, biologists, and statisticians who, by working together, are committed to combining efforts to reach these goals. Such a combined effort and interdisciplinary training is absolutely necessary to accomplish this work, and will certainly open up entirely new avenues for research both here at Dartmouth and beyond.

Rotations and Thesis Projects:

1. Examine how the intrauterine environment during pregnancy alters DNA methylation in infant placenta and cord blood and the downstream consequences of these alterations
2. Identify and expand on novel epigenetic biomarkers for cancer risk and prognosis in bladder and skin cancers.
3. Examine alterations in genomic imprinting in human placenta and its association with environmental exposures, and newborn developmental outcomes.

Grant Information:

R01 MH094609 (Marsit) Epigenetics in Neurodevelopment and Mental Health (NIH/NIMH)

R01 ES022223 (Marsit and Chen) Environment, Imprinting, and Neurodevelopment (NIH/NIEHS)

P01 ES022832 (Karagas, Marsit and Robbins) Childrenís Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center Project 3: Placental Biomarkers of Exposure and Outcome (NIH/NIEHS and US EPA)

Courses Taught:

PEMM 103: Introduction to Biostatistics


Dr. Marsit received his B.S. from Lafayette College in Biochemistry in 2000, and his Ph.D. from the Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health at Harvard University in 2004. He trained as postdoctoral research associate in molecular epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2007, he was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at Brown University. He joined the faculty at Dartmouth in 2011, as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Community and Family Medicine in the Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

Selected Publications:


Punshon T, Davis MA, Marsit CJ, Theiler SK, Baker ER, Jackson BP, Conway DC, Karagas MR
Placental arsenic concentrations in relation to both maternal and infant biomarkers of exposure in a US cohort.
J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 2015 Mar 25;
PMID: 25805251

Green BB, Armstrong DA, Lesseur C, Paquette AG, Guerin DJ, Kwan LE, Marsit CJ
The Role of Placental 11-Beta Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1 and Type 2 Methylation on Gene Expression and Infant Birth Weight.
Biol Reprod 2015 Mar 18;
PMID: 25788665

Maccani JZ, Koestler DC, Lester B, Houseman EA, Armstrong DA, Kelsey KT, Marsit CJ
Placental DNA Methylation Related to Both Infant Toenail Mercury and Adverse Neurobehavioral Outcomes.
Environ Health Perspect 2015 Mar 6;
PMID: 25748564

Marsit CJ
Influence of environmental exposure on human epigenetic regulation.
J Exp Biol 2015 Jan 1; 218(Pt 1):71-9
PMID: 25568453

Andrew AS, Marsit CJ, Schned AR, Seigne JD, Kelsey KT, Moore JH, Perreard L, Karagas MR, Sempere LF
Expression of tumor suppressive microRNA-34a is associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer recurrence.
Int J Cancer 2014 Dec 29;
PMID: 25556547

Appleton AA, Lester BM, Armstrong DA, Lesseur C, Marsit CJ
Examining the joint contribution of placental NR3C1 and HSD11B2 methylation for infant neurobehavior.
Psychoneuroendocrinology 2015 Feb; 52:32-42
PMID: 25459891

Tan X, Nelson HH, Langevin SM, McClean M, Marsit CJ, Waterboer T, Pawlita M, Kelsey KT, Michaud DS
Obesity and head and neck cancer risk and survival by human papillomavirus serology.
Cancer Causes Control 2015 Jan; 26(1):111-9
PMID: 25398682

Koestler DC, Marsit CJ, Christensen BC, Kelsey KT, Houseman EA
A recursively partitioned mixture model for clustering time-course gene expression data.
Transl Cancer Res 2014; 3(3):217-232
PMID: 25346887

Paquette AG, Lester BM, Koestler DC, Lesseur C, Armstrong DA, Marsit CJ
Placental FKBP5 genetic and epigenetic variation is associated with infant neurobehavioral outcomes in the RICHS cohort.
PLoS One 2014; 9(8):e104913
PMID: 25115650

Lesseur C, Paquette AG, Marsit CJ
Epigenetic Regulation of Infant Neurobehavioral Outcomes.
Med Epigenet 2014 May; 2(2):71-79
PMID: 25089125