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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Marissa Shams-White, PhD, MSTOM, MS, MPH

Program Director
Risk Factor Assessment Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Telephone: (240) 276-7654

  • PhD – Nutritional Epidemiology, Tufts University
  • MS – Nutritional Epidemiology, Tufts University
  • MPH – Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tufts University
  • MS – Traditional Oriental Medicine, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
  • BS – Health Sciences, Ithaca College
Contact for questions about:
  • Assessment of diet, dietary patterns, and sleep
  • Food environment and food/nutrition insecurity
  • Obesity and policy research
  • Time-sensitive opportunities for health research


Dr. Marissa Shams-White is a program director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch (RFAB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). In this role, she supports work in dietary patterns; measures for diet and sleep assessment, including screeners; the emerging areas of systems science and the measurement of 24-hour behavior patterns (including diet, sleep, and physical activity); measurement error; and obesity policy research.

Dr. Shams-White’s scientific interests include survey and index development for lifestyle measures. She led a team of experts in the development of the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Score. As an epidemiologist, she is also interested in examining the association between modifiable lifestyle factors – including dietary quality and sleep health – and obesity and cancer risk.

Dr. Shams-White first joined NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program fellow. Prior to pursuing her education at Tufts University, she was also an acupuncturist.

Select Publications

Shams-White MM, Pannucci TE, Lerman JL, Herrick KA, Zimmer M, Meyers Mathieu K, Stoody EE, Reedy J. Healthy Eating Index-2020: Review and Update Process to Reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,2020-2025. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2023 May 16; S2212-2672(23)00246-0.

Shams-White MM, O'Connor LE, O'Connor SG, Herrick KA. Development of the Sleep module for the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour (ASA24) Dietary Assessment Tool: New research opportunities. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2022 Jun 28; S2212-2672(22)00391-4.

Shams-White MM, Brockton NT, Mitrou P, Kahle LL, Reedy J. The 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Score and All-Cause, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Risk: A Longitudinal Analysis in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022;6(6):nzac096. eCollection 2022 Jun.

Shams-White MM, Korycinski RW, Dodd KW, Barrett B, Jacobs S, Subar AF, Park Y, Bowles HR. Examining the association between meal context and diet quality: an observational study of meal context in older adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2021;18(1):67.

Shams-White MM, Barajas R, Jensen RE, Rotunno M, Dueck H, Ginexi EM, Rogers SD, Gillanders EM, Mechanic LE. Systems epidemiology and cancer: A review of the National Institutes of Health extramural grant portfolio 2013-2018. PLoS One. 2021;16(4):e0250061.

O'Connor SG, Boyd P, Bailey CP, Shams-White MM, Agurs-Collins T, Hall K, Reedy J, Sauter ER, Czajkowski SM. Perspective: Time-Restricted Eating Compared with Caloric Restriction: Potential Facilitators and Barriers of Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance. Adv Nutr. 2021;12(2):325-33.

Shams-White MM, Romaguera D, Mitrou P, Reedy J, Bender A, Brockton N. Further guidance in implementing the standardized 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Score. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 May;29(5):889-894.

Shams-White MM, Chui K, Deuster PA, McKeown NM, Must A. Comparison of Anthropometric Measures in US Military Personnel in the Classification of Overweight and Obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Feb;28(2):362-370.

Katz DL, Karlsen MC, Chung M, Shams-White MM, Green LW, Fielding J, Saito A, Willett W. Hierarchies of evidence applied to lifestyle Medicine (HEALM): introduction of a strength-of-evidence approach based on a methodological systematic review. BMC Med Res Methodol; 2019 Aug 20;19(1):178.

Shams-White MM, Brockton N, Mitrou P, Romaguera D, Brown S, Bender A, Kahle LL, Reedy J. Operationalizing the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) Cancer Prevention Recommendations: A Standardized Scoring System. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 12;11(7):1572.