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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Somdat Mahabir, PhD, MPH

Senior Scientist and Program Director
Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: 240-276-6941

  • PhD - Nutrition, New York University
  • MPH - Epidemiology, New York Medical College
  • MS - Clinical Nutrition, New York Institute of Technology
Contact for questions about:
  • Early-life factors
  • Environmental exposures
  • Lifestyle factors


Somdat Mahabir, PhD, MPH, is a senior scientist and program director in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch (EEB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). His responsibilities include the management of research that focuses on cancer epidemiology of modifiable risk factors such as environmental exposures and lifestyle factors, and the development of scientific research initiatives. Dr. Mahabir has expertise in the development and management of multiple research projects/initiatives, including large-scale research projects.

Dr. Mahabir leads the New Cohorts for Environmental Exposures and Cancer (CEECR) program. CEECR consists for five new cohorts (four supported by NCI and one by NIEHS) and a coordinating center. He was also involved with the development of the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program and afterwards continued to serve as project scientist. He was part of a select group that developed the ECHO renewal. Dr. Mahabir also served as co-chair for research on the 2019-2023 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research. He serves on multiple trans-NIH scientific committees and working groups.

Dr. Mahabir is co-chair for cohort coordination in EGRP which funds several cancer epidemiology cohorts. He also is EGRP's scientific point of contact for the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C), Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC), and the Africa-Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3).

He has organized workshops at NCI to advance different areas of cancer research. They include the Research Strategies for Nutritional and Physical Activity Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention workshop in June 2016 and the Next Steps in Studying the Human Microbiome and Health in Prospective Studies workshop in May 2017. He has also served on scientific planning committees for several trans-NIH meetings such as the NIH Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer (EO-CRC) Think Tank in September 2020, the Cancer Epidemiology in Hispanic Populations Workshop in September 2021, National Institutes of Health Workshop Report: Multigenerational Nutritional Influences on Health and Disease in July 2023, Molecular Signatures of Exposure in Cancer: A Joint NIEHS and NCI Workshop in June 2023, and Workshop on Research on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health in February 2024.

Prior to joining EGRP in 2009, Dr. Mahabir was an assistant professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He was a member of the Psychosocial, Behavioral, and Health Services Research Committee Institutional Review Board (IRB) section at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Mahabir is the recipient of an NCI Cancer Prevention Research Training Merit Award, NCI Director's Award, CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Honor Award, NIH Director’s Award and academic awards from New York Medical College and New York Institute of Technology.

Select Publications

Bragg MG, Westlake M, Alshawabkeh AN, et al. Opportunities for examining child health impacts of early-life nutrition in the ECHO program: maternal and child dietary intake data from pregnancy to adolescence. Curr Dev Nutr. 2023;7(11):102019.

Elena JW, Gallicchio L, Pottinger CA, et al. Cancer epidemiology in Hispanic populations: an analysis of funded observational research at the National Cancer Institute. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2023;32(5):653-658.

Bekelman TA, Dabelea D, Ganiban JM, et al Regional and sociodemographic differences in average BMI among US children in the ECHO program. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2021;29(12):2089-2099.

Tylavsky FA, Ferrara A, Catellier DJ, et al. Understanding childhood obesity in the US: the NIH environmental influences on child health outcomes (ECHO) program. Int J Obes (Lond). 2020;44(3):617-627.

Sinha R, Ahsan H, Blaser M, et al. Next steps in studying the human microbiome and health in prospective studies, Bethesda, MD, May 16-17, 2017. Microbiome. 2018;6(1):210.

Mahabir S, Willett WC, Friedenreich CM, et al. Research strategies for nutritional and physical activity epidemiology and cancer prevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018;27(3):233-244.

Mahabir S, Pfeiffer R, Xu X, Baer DJ, Taylor PR. Effects of low-to-moderate alcohol supplementation on urinary estrogen metabolites in postmenopausal women in a controlled feeding study. Cancer Med. 2017;6(10):2419-2423.

Mahabir S. Is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease driving the increased incidence of liver cancer? Cancer. 2016;122(14):2277-8.

Vedham V, Verma M, Mahabir S. Early-life exposures to infectious agents and later cancer development. Cancer Med. 2015;4(12):1908-22.

Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Pfeiffer RM, Li Y, Watkins BA, Taylor PR. Low to moderate alcohol consumption on serum vitamin D and other indicators of bone health in postmenopausal women in a controlled feeding study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(11):1267-70.

Mahabir S, Aagaard K, Anderson LM, et al. Challenges and opportunities in research on early-life events/exposures and cancer development later in life. Cancer Causes Control. 2012;23(6):983-90.

Hartman TJ, Mahabir S, Baer DJ, et al. Moderate alcohol consumption and 24-hour urinary levels of melatonin in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(1):E65-8.

Su LJ, Mahabir S, Ellison GL, McGuinn LA, Reid BC. Epigenetic contributions to the relationship between cancer and dietary intake of nutrients, bioactive food components, and environmental toxicants. Front Genet. 2012;2:91.

Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Johnson LL, et al. Usefulness of body mass index (BMI) as a sufficient adiposity measurement for sex hormone concentration associations in postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006;15(12):2502-2507.