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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:


Understanding the role of the immune system in cancer: new opportunities for population-based research.
Michaud DS, Houseman EA, Marsit CJ, Nelson HH, Wiencke J, Kelsey KT
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Sep 22; pii: cebp.0681.2015. Epub 2015 Sep 22.
PMID: 26396143

Placental epigenetic patterning of glucocorticoid response genes is associated with infant neurodevelopment.
Paquette AG, Lester BM, Lesseur C, Armstrong DA, Guerin DJ, Appleton AA, Marsit CJ
Epigenomics. 2015 Sep 7; Epub 2015 Sep 7.
PMID: 26343289

Maternal psychiatric disease and epigenetic evidence suggest a common biology for poor fetal growth.
Ciesielski TH, Marsit CJ, Williams SM
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015 Aug 25;15:192. doi: 10.1186/s12884-015-0627-8. Epub 2015 Aug 25.
PMID: 26303856

GLI3 Links Environmental Arsenic Exposure and Human Fetal Growth.
Winterbottom EF, Fei DL, Koestler DC, Giambelli C, Wika E, Capobianco AJ, Lee E, Marsit CJ, Karagas MR, Robbins DJ
EBioMedicine. 2015 Jun;2(6):536-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.04.019. Epub 2015 May 1.
PMID: 26288817

Epigenome-wide and transcriptome-wide analyses reveal gestational diabetes is associated with alterations in the human leukocyte antigen complex.
Binder AM, LaRocca J, Lesseur C, Marsit CJ, Michels KB
Clin Epigenetics. 2015;7(1):79. doi: 10.1186/s13148-015-0116-y. Epub 2015 Aug 5.
PMID: 26244062

Select Prenatal Environmental Exposures and Subsequent Alterations of Gene-Specific and Repetitive Element DNA Methylation in Fetal Tissues.
Green BB, Marsit CJ
Curr Environ Health Rep. 2015 Jun;2(2):126-36. doi: 10.1007/s40572-015-0045-0.
PMID: 26231362

Expression of imprinted genes in placenta is associated with infant neurobehavioral development.
Green BB, Kappil M, Lambertini L, Armstrong DA, Guerin DJ, Sharp AJ, Lester BM, Chen J, Marsit CJ
Epigenetics. 2015 Sep 2;10(9):834-41. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1073880. Epub 2015 Jul 22.
PMID: 26198301

Placental expression profile of imprinted genes impacts birth weight.
Kappil MA, Green BB, Armstrong DA, Sharp AJ, Lambertini L, Marsit CJ, Chen J
Epigenetics. 2015 Sep 2;10(9):842-9. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1073881. Epub 2015 Jul 17.
PMID: 26186239

Prenatal predictors of infant self-regulation: the contributions of placental DNA methylation of NR3C1 and neuroendocrine activity.
Conradt E, Fei M, LaGasse L, Tronick E, Guerin D, Gorman D, Marsit CJ, Lester BM
Front Behav Neurosci. 2015;9:130. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00130. Epub 2015 May 29.
PMID: 26074794

Infant peripheral blood repetitive element hypomethylation associated with antiretroviral therapy in utero.
Marsit CJ, Brummel SS, Kacanek D, Seage GR 3rd, Spector SA, Armstrong DA, Lester BM, Rich K, Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Studies Network
Epigenetics. 2015 Aug 3;10(8):708-16. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1060389.
PMID: 26067216