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Christine Ladd-Acosta, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W6509
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


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PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
BS, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1999


My primary research interest is to understand the molecular underpinnings of child health and disease, with a main focus on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Recent evidence suggests both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the etiology of autism yet no single factor has been conclusively identified to date. My research is focused on integrating genome-wide genotyping, genome-scale epigenetic, and prenatal environmental exposure data, at a population level, to understand how these factors influence autism risk and to identify biologic pathways that could serve as molecular targets for prevention and intervention efforts. This work is carried out through collaborations with both U.S. based and international epidemiology studies and research consortia. Another avenue of research I am pursuing is the development of new molecular epigenetic methods and tools to enable the next generation of epidemiology studies, more broadly.

Honors and Awards

2016 Best Original Article, Environmental Research

2009 Mette Strand Young Investigator Award

  • autism
  • epigenetics
  • genetic epidemiology
  • gene-environment interaction
  • prenatal environmental exposure
  • biomarkers
  • neurodevelopment

Selected publications that highlight my research areas of interest and key findings

  • Cross-tissue integration of genetic and epigenetic data offers insight into autism spectrum disorder. Andrews SV, Ellis SE, Bakulski KM, Sheppard B, Croen LA, Hertz-Picciotto I, Newschaffer CJ, Feinberg AP, Arking DE, Ladd-Acosta C, Fallin MD. Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 24;8(1):1011.
  • Presence of an epigenetic signature of prenatal cigarette smoke exposure in childhood. Ladd-Acosta C, Shu C, Lee BK, Gidaya N, Singer A, Schieve LA, Schendel DE, Jones N, Daniels JL, Windham GC, Newschaffer CJ, Croen LA, Feinberg AP, Daniele Fallin M. Environ Res. 2016 Jan;144(Pt A):139-148.
  • The role of epigenetics in genetic and environmental epidemiology. Ladd-Acosta C, Fallin MD. Epigenomics. 2016 Feb;8(2):271-83. Review.
  • Common DNA methylation alterations in multiple brain regions in autism. Ladd-Acosta C, Hansen KD, Briem E, Fallin MD, Kaufmann WE, Feinberg AP. Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Aug;19(8):862-71.
  • The human colon cancer methylome shows similar hypo- and hypermethylation at conserved tissue-specific CpG island shores. Irizarry RA, Ladd-Acosta C, Wen B, Wu Z, Montano C, Onyango P, Cui H, Gabo K, Rongione M, Webster M, Ji H, Potash J, Sabunciyan S, Feinberg AP. Nat Genet. 2009 Feb;41(2):178-186.