Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Contact Information

Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
9609 Medical Center Drive, Rm. 4E106, MSC 9763
Bethesda, MD 20892
(For express delivery, use Rockville, MD 20850)

Interest Areas

  • Early-life factors and cancer development later in life (childhood and adult cancers)
  • Nutrition, energetics, and other lifestyle factors in cancer epidemiology
  • Nutraceuticals and cancer
  • Use of "omics" approaches to understand the links between lifestyle factors and the genome, epigenome, microbiome, and metabolome on cancer prevention, etiology, treatment, and survival
  • Cancer and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean/Latin America


  • Ph.D. - Nutrition
    New York University
  • M.P.H. - Epidemiology
    New York Medical College
  • M.S. - Clinical Nutrition
    New York Institute of Technology


Dr. Somdat Mahabir is a Nutritional Epidemiologist and Program Director in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch (EEB)—formerly the Modifiable Risk Factors Branch (MRFB)—of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). His responsibilities include the scientific management of a research grant portfolio that focuses on the cancer epidemiology of modifiable factors such as diet, overweight, and obesity; physical activity energy expenditure; common medications; other environmental exposures; and an emerging set of investigations focused on early-life factors. Most of the research portfolio also investigates the genomic and molecular underpinnings of modifiable risk factors.

Dr. Mahabir is NCI's Program Officer for a number of large-scale research projects, including the Nurses' Health Studies, Health Professionals Follow-up Studies, Multi-Ethnic Cohort Studies, and the Shanghai Cohort Studies. He is the founder and current co-chair of the Trans-Agency Early-Life Exposures and Cancer (TEEC) Working Group, a body representing NCI, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Defense-Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DoD-CDMRP), NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Dr. Mahabir is the scientific contact for NCI's Funding Opportunity Announcements for Mechanistic Insights from Birth Cohorts (R01) (PAR-13-109). He also is EGRP's scientific point of contact for the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C) and Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC). Dr. Mahabir organized the Expert Panel Workshop on Early-Life Events and Cancer in May 2011 and the Birth Defects and Cancer: The Intersection of Genes and Prenatal Factors workshop in September 2012.

Prior to joining EGRP in 2009, Dr. Mahabir was an Assistant Professor 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. He also was a member of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Institutional Research Grant (IRG) program and the Clinical, Translational, and Population-Based Research Projects review committees at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Mahabir has been the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator of grants funded by NIH, the ACS-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center IRG, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Before joining M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, he was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at NCI and a Project Director with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

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, and academic awards from New York Medical College and New York Institute of Technology.


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 Nov;68(11):1267-70.

Mahabir S. Association between diet during preadolescence and adolescence and risk for breast cancer during adulthood. J Adolesc Health. 2013 May;52(5Suppl):S30-S5.

Mahabir S, Aagaard K, Anderson LM, Herceg Z, Hiatt RA, Hoover RN, Linet MS, Medina D, Potischman N, Tretli S, Trichopoulos D, Troisi R. Challenges and opportunities in research on early-life events/exposures and cancer development later in life. Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Jun;23(6):983-90.

Hartman TJ, Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Stevens RG, Albert PS, Dorgan JF, Kesner JS, Meadows JW, Shields R, Taylor PR. Moderate alcohol consumption and 24-hour urinary levels of melatonin in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jan;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. 2012Jan;2:91.

Swartz MD, Forman MR, Mahabir S, Etzel CJ. Pooling dietary data using questionnaires with open-ended and predefined responses: implications for comparing mean intake or estimating odds rations. Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Mar15;171(6):682-90.

Mahabir S, Ettinger S, Johnson L, Baer D, Clevidence BA, Hartman TJ, Taylor PR. Measures of adiposity and body fat distribution in relation to serum folate levels in postmenopausal women in a feeding study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008; 62:644-650.

Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Johnson LL, Hartman TJ, Dorgan JF, Campbell WS, Clevidence BA, Taylor PR. Usefulness of body mass index (BMI) as a sufficient adiposity measurement for sex hormone concentration associations in postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2006;15(12):2502-2507.

Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Giffen C, Hartman TJ, Campbell WS, Clevidence B, Taylor PR. Comparison of energy expenditure estimates from four physical activity questionnaires to doubly labeled water among postmenopausal women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006;84:230-236.

Mahabir S, Baer DJ, Giffen C, Campbell WS, Hartman TJ, Clevidence BA, Albanes D, Taylor PR. Calorie intake misreporting by diet record and food frequency questionnaire compared to doubly labeled water among postmenopausal women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006;60:561-565.

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