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Associate Professor

Christine Ladd-Acosta, PhD, studies how genes and the environment contribute to health outcomes, including neuropsychiatric disorders, and identifies intervention targets.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room W6509

Research Interests

autism; epigenetic epidemiology; genetic epidemiology; gene-environment interaction; prenatal; environmental exposures; biomarkers; neurodevelopment; mental health; pregnancy
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins University
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Dr. Ladd-Acosta is Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mental Health. She also serves as Associate Director for genomics at the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Associate Director for epigenomic analysis at the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes, Data Analysis Center (ECHO-DAC). She leverages her interdisciplinary expertise across wet lab genomics/epigenomics and epidemiology to develop and apply new molecular tools to advance the next generation of epidemiology studies and improve health outcomes. Dr. Ladd-Acosta is recognized for her contributions to the fields of epigenetic epidemiology, autism spectrum disorder, and environmental epigenomics. Her research findings have been recognized as 2 of the top 20 scientific advances in the field of autism research by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Council (IACC) in 2017 and she also received a 2016 Environmental Research paper of the year award. She currently leads several federally funded research projects to investigate: (a) epigenomic mechanisms in social environmental stress effects on health outcomes, and their contribution to health disparities, (b) genetic, environmental, and epigenetic risk factors for neuropsychiatric disorders, including their interplay, and (c) the development of epigenetic biomarkers of exposure and disease.

In addition to her research goals, Dr. Ladd-Acosta is dedicated to training the next generation of researchers through mentorship and classroom activities. This is evidenced by her mentees leading successful research-based careers in both the private industry and academic settings, her courses consistently receiving outstanding ratings, and receipt of the 2021 Advising, Mentoring & Teaching Recognition Award (AMTRA) given by the Johns Hopkins Student Association for outstanding mentoring and teaching service. She currently serves as Preceptor for several training programs including the Maryland Genetics, Epidemiology and Medicine (MD-GEM), Cancer T32, and Psychiatric Epidemiology T32 (PET) training programs and co-mentors or advises junior faculty on their mentored awards.
Honors & Awards
2021 Advising, Mentoring & Teaching Recognition Award (AMTRA)
2021 Excellence in Teaching, Introduction to Omics in Public Health
2020 Excellence in Teaching, Introduction to Omics in Public Health
2020 Excellence in Teaching, Principles of Genetic Epidemiology 2
2019 Excellence in Teaching, Principles of Genetic Epidemiology 2
2017 2 of top 20 advances in autism research by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
2017 Best Original Article 2016, Environmental Research
2016 Excellence in Teaching, Principles of Genetic Epidemiology 4
2014 Excellence in Teaching, Principles of Genetic Epidemiology 4
2009 Mette Strand Young Investigator Research Award, Johns Hopkins University
Select Publications
Selected publications that highlight my research areas of interest and key findings
  • Ladd-Acosta, C., J.I. Feinberg, S.C. Brown, F.W. Lurmann, L.A. Croen, I. Hertz-Picciotto, C.J. Newschaffer, A.P. Feinberg, M.D. Fallin, and H.E. Volk, Epigenetic marks of prenatal air pollution exposure found in multiple tissues relevant for child health. Environ Int, 2019. 126: p. 363-376.
  • 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.
  • Andrews, S.V., B. Sheppard, G.C. Windham, L.A. Schieve, D.E. Schendel, L.A. Croen, P. Chopra, R.S. Alisch, C.J. Newschaffer, S.T. Warren, A.P. Feinberg, M.D. Fallin, and C. Ladd-Acosta, Case- control meta-analysis of blood DNA methylation and autism spectrum disorder. Mol Autism, 2018. 9: p. 40.
Parental lifetime occupational exposures and risk of autism spectrum disorder in offspring
The role of epigenetics in the adverse effects of social environmental stressors on COPD outcomes
Autism-specific patterns of DNA methylation from birth to age 5
Air pollution risk for autism and ADHD cross-disorder insights and genetic liability
GEMMA (Genome, Environment, Microbiome & Metabolome in Autism)
Study to Explore Early Development (SEED)