Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Dr. Karl Kelsey, MD, MOH, is Professor of Community Health and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University. He is Director of the Center for Environmental Health and Technology and Head of the Environmental Health Section in the Departemnt of Epidemiology. Dr. Kelsey is interested in the application of laboratory-based biomarkers in environmental disease, with experience in chronic disease epidemiology and tumor biology. The goals of his work include a mechanistic understanding of individual susceptibility to exposure-related cancers. In addition, his laboratory is interested in tumor biology, investigating somatic alterations in tumor tissue from patients who have developed exposure-related cancers. This work involves using an epidemiologic approach to characterize epigenetic and genetic alteration of genes in the causal pathway for malignancy. Active work includes several studies of individual susceptibility to cancer. Dr. Kelsey's laboratory is investigating susceptibility to smoking-related lung cancer, studying multi-racial and ethnic populations. In addition, the laboratory is also studying inherited susceptibility to brain tumors and pancreatic cancer. Major case control studies that are ongoing in the laboratory include studies designed to understand inherited and acquired susceptibility in head and neck cancers. The laboratory is also involved in a case control study of asbestos-associated mesothelioma, and arsenic exposure, cigarette smoking and bladder cancer. Considerable work is being devoted to understanding the mechanisms of action of both asbestos and arsenic including their ability to effect promoter methylation and gene silencing in carcinogenesis. Recent work in the laboratory includes an interest in using newly developed DNA methylation biomarkers to probe immune profiles from archived blood.  Dr. Kelsey received his MD from the University of Minnesota and Masters of Occupational Health from Harvard University.

Brown Affiliations