Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB)

Britt C. Reid, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Branch Chief

The Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB) focuses on factors to reduce cancer risk in humans, including exposures to nutritional components; physical activity and energy balance; alcohol and tobacco; and infectious, physical, and chemical agents.

MRFB's mission is to plan, develop, direct, coordinate, and evaluate:

  • A comprehensive program of extramural epidemiologic research in the etiology of cancer in human populations relating to factors that may be modifiable, such as nutrition, physical activity and energy balance, infectious diseases, and physical and chemical agents;
  • A program of extramural epidemiologic research to study differences in cancer susceptibility and risk in individuals and populations and the multiple environmental and genetic factors that jointly contribute to cancer, with the ultimate goal of elucidating the etiology of cancer;
  • A program of extramural epidemiologic research to evaluate the association of and magnitude of cancer risk associated with biomarkers of exposure, biologically effective dose, and early damage; and
  • Research resources, infrastructures, and consortia with a focus on modifiable risk factors to facilitate and maximize the scientific potential of cancer epidemiology research.

Its mission is also to disseminate findings from the research supported by the Branch to the public, health care professionals, scientists engaged in cancer control, and the public health community.

MRFB Staff

Branch Name / Title / Contact Info Interest Areas

Reid, Britt C., D.D.S., Ph.D.
Branch Chief

Phone: (240) 276-6725

  • Susceptibility to environmental determinants of cancer
  • Climate change as cancer risk modifier
  • Household air-pollution from solid fuel combustion

Aja, Hayley
Cancer Research Training Award Fellow

Phone: (240) 276-6469

  • Air pollution and its effects on various health outcomes
  • Global health
  • Infectious disease
  • Occupational and environmental epidemiology

Dold, Georgia
Extramural Support Specialist

Phone: (240) 276-6784

  • Not Available

Ellison, Gary L., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director

Phone: (240) 276-6783

  • Elucidating the role of physical and chemical exposures, lifestyle, social factors and the broader environment in cancer incidence and progression
  • Cancer disparities
  • Early-life exposures; global health
  • Cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, and rectum

Lam, Tram K., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director

Phone: (240) 276-6967

  • Cancer epidemiology, including environmental factors, genetic factors, gene-environment interactions
  • Knowledge Integration to advance research by synthesizing cross-disciplinary knowledge, identifying scientific gaps, and translating epidemiologic findings
  • Novel infectious agents and their association with cancer
  • Understudied populations in cancer epidemiology

Lee, Jennifer, M.P.H.
Cancer Research Training Award Fellow

Phone: (240) 276-7333

  • Dietary and lifestyle factors
  • Obesity
  • Energy balance
  • Physical activity
  • Pediatric nutrition

Mahabir, Somdat, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director

Phone: (240) 276-6941

  • Early-life exposures/events and cancer development later in life (childhood and adult cancers)
  • Obesity/energy balance mechanisms and cancer
  • Impact of diet and medications on gut microbiome in cancer etiology and prevention
  • Nutraceuticals and alternative dietary supplements
  • Cancer and non-communicable diseases (NCDS) in the Caribbean/Latin America

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