My research passion is diabetes in pregnancy. I am currently funded to follow-up on young adult offspring of women who had pre-gestational diabetes. However, I also have other diverse research interests, which is common in my field as a quantitative epidemiologist.
I have been part of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Stroke Study team for more than 20 years. This study specifically examines changes in stroke incidence over time in our five-county area — it began in 1993 and we’re currently funded to look at data for 2020. In particular, we focus on disparities in stroke incidence and risk factors related to race and sex.
My involvement in other collaborations includes:
- The parent study, from 1978 to 1995, that led to follow-up of the young adult offspring: Level and timing of diabetic hyperglycemia in utero: the transgenerational effect on adult morbidity (TEAM study).
- The Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study since 2002, where I have collaborated on various aspects of child behavior and development, in particular, environmental exposures related to neurobehavioral outcomes in children.
- The Teen-LABS observational study as a member of the biostatistical group. Of particular interest is the examination of the weight loss/maintenance and associated changes in the health status of teenagers undergoing bariatric surgery. In particular, I have collaborated on studies examining changes over time in renal function, nutrition indicators and eating habits.
- The groundbreaking research of Dr. Greg Myer’s sports medicine group, currently with a clinical trial examining virtual reality training to avert injury in female athletes.
- Dr. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens’ innovative smoking cessation initiatives most recently a clinical trial recruiting parents of children with smoking-related conditions when they present to the emergency department or to urgent care.
An RO1 grant I was awarded in September 2018 by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports the TEAM study. We are locating study participants who are now 24 to 42-years-old, offspring of mothers who had pre-gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnancy and participated in the parent study between 1978 and 1995. We are assessing factors in their offspring, including their metabolic, anthropometric, renal, cardiovascular and neurocognitive health as young adults.
This study will focus on the relationship of maternal glycemic control during pregnancy and the relationship of gestational timing of periods of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia on these outcomes. This information will inform both mothers and care providers regarding the most vulnerable periods of fetal development related to each outcome. Our hope is this work helps identify young adults with the highest risk for morbidity, allowing for early intervention and possible prevention.
I have been a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s for more than 13 years. When I am not conducting research, I love to both play and watch tennis. Going to the Australia Open tournament is definitely on my bucket list.
Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics