As a developmental psychologist and epidemiologist, I’m interested in exposures and experiences that may alter a child’s developmental trajectory from infancy through adolescence. I collaborate on research projects on typical child development as well as those focused on the impact of exposures to environmental toxicants, opiates and stress during early development.
Early in my research, I studied prenatal exposure to drugs like cocaine and opiates on infant and child neurobehavioral outcomes, and then I discovered the impact that tobacco smoke can have on a child’s health and development. Studying tobacco smoke led to exploration of other environmental toxicants like metals, industrial chemicals and air pollution. I always balance my studies by accounting for other factors, such as stress, poverty and caregiver characteristics as they are also critical contributors to a child’s development.
Through a pregnancy and birth cohort study from Cincinnati, we have studied a variety of common environmental toxicants — tobacco smoke, air pollution, pesticides and industrial chemicals — and how they may impact child neurobehavior, health and neuroimaging outcomes. We completed our most recent follow-up on the children in 2019, at age 12. We are awaiting funding decisions that will extend our follow-up to late adolescence.
I also collaborate with investigators from multiple institutions, both domestically and internationally, regarding neurobehavioral assessments and staff training strategies. We work to acquire the most appropriate outcome measures with the highest standards of reliability and validity. My ultimate goal is to identify short- and long-term neurobehavioral outcomes among infants and children from a variety of samples, advancing our understanding of developmental trajectories and factors that may alter outcomes.
As director of research for the Division of General and Community Pediatrics, I interact with researchers of all levels, providing support and guidance as they plan their projects. I am associate director of our National Research Service Award Fellowship in General Pediatrics, and I serve as training faculty on three T32 fellowship grants and for the Medical Scientist Training Program. I also hold a secondary appointment at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences. These roles allow me to interact with medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, providing mentorship and research guidance.
I have been a researcher for more than 28 years and started working at Cincinnati Children’s in 2000. Some highlights of my research career include:
PhD: Family Relations & Human Development, Developmental Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1992.
Fellowship: Pediatric Environmental Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2000-2003.
Infant and child development and behavior; environmental exposures
General and Community Pediatrics
Environmental predictors of children's executive functioning development. Child Neuropsychology. 2023; ahead-of-print:1-21.
Air pollution exposure and social responsiveness in childhood: The cincinnati combined childhood cohorts. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2023; 251:114172.
Early-life exposure to a mixture of organophosphate esters and child behavior. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2023; 250:114162.
Characterizing the Adolescent Premature Ovarian Insufficiency Phenotype: A Case Control Study. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2023; 36:122-127.
Early exposure to flame retardants is prospectively associated with anxiety symptoms in adolescents: A prospective birth cohort study. Depression and Anxiety. 2022; 39:780-793.
Childhood urinary organophosphate esters and cognitive abilities in a longitudinal cohort study. Environmental Research. 2022; 215:114265.
Physical activity modifies the relation between gestational perfluorooctanoic acid exposure and adolescent cardiometabolic risk. Environmental Research. 2022; 214:114021.
Maternal and child exposure to organophosphate ester mixtures and child neurobehavior. ISEE Conference Abstracts. 2022; 2022.
Cumulative exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from pregnancy to age 12 years and bone health in early adolescence: the HOME Study. ISEE Conference Abstracts. 2022; 2022.
A life-course approach for examining the impact of air pollutants on adolescent anxiety and depression and the role of DNA methylation. ISEE Conference Abstracts. 2022; 2022.
Kimberly Yolton, PhD7/11/2022
Kimberly Yolton, PhD, Cole Brokamp, PhD ...3/24/2021
Kimberly Yolton, PhD, Kim M. Cecil, PhD ...3/2/2021
Kimberly Yolton, PhD6/25/2019