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Podium with microphones

LEAD Mini-Summit: Lightning Strikes!

minute read

Organized by LEAD Assistant Directors Kate Sauder (Translation), Anne Starling (Environment), and Wei Perng (‘Omics), fifteen ‘lightning’ talks of three minutes each were presented. The topics ranged from molecular to community level exposures and outcomes. Small groups were formed at the end of the session to identify areas for collaboration and strategize on future directions.

A few examples of talks:

  • Allie Shapiro (Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry) is utilizing functional MRI scans of the brain to identify the neural underpinnings of disinhibited eating behavior (such as eating more when already full). She found that disinhibited eating behavior is associated with hypothalamic neuronal response to an energy surplus in healthy adults. This work has been accepted to the 2019 Keystone Symposia Conference in Functional Neurocircuitry of Feeding and Feeding Disorders.
  • Anna Bellatorre (Research Associate, Program coordinator, SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth) is interested in social determinants of health and health disparities, survey design and methods, and the origins of chronic illness across the life course. She recently published a paper from EPOCH showing that pre-pregnancy maternal obesity influenced the amount of adolescent hepatic fat, adjusted for current and prior obesity and glycemic control.
  • Brandy Ringham (Research Associate, LEAD biostatistician) has developed a novel method for estimating insufficient intake (for example, of vitamins or other nutrients) that allows for better estimation of mean and variance of the intake distribution. This will be tested using Healthy Start nutritional data.
  • Kylie Harrall (Senior Professional Research Assistant, LEAD) is implementing a new statistical method for dealing with chemical and biomarker values that fall below the limit of detection (LOD) of the assay. This involves use of the Reverse Scale Cox Proportional Hazards model.
  • Brianna Moore (Postdoctoral Fellow, LEAD) is exploring the role of maternal smoking on offspring neurodevelopment. Signals point to delays in fine motor development at this time. In a related project, she has applied for funding to examine the association between marijuana use during pregnancy and offspring neurodevelopment
  • Christy Hockett (Research Associate, LEAD) is the program coordinator with Kate Sauder (PI) implementing the Tribal Turning Point randomized trial in two sites on the Navajo Nation and a site in urban Phoenix, AZ. This is a behavioral randomized control trial looking at the efficacy and long-term sustainability of a diabetes prevention program for 300 Native youth, 100 in each site.
  • Deb Glueck (Visiting Professor, Pediatrics, LEAD senior biostatistician) has developed an open source software program called GLIMMPSE, which allows users to determine sample size and power for complex longitudinal studies such as birth cohorts like Healthy Start. To date Dr. Glueck’s software website (www.SampleSizeShop.org) is visited >11,000 times per year, by people from all over the world.
  • Katerina Kechris (Associate Professor, biostatistics, LEAD informatician and biostatistician) directs analysis of the ‘big data’ coming from various ‘omics platforms, such as genes, gene regulators (epigenetics), products (transcriptomics) and the relation of these to various outcomes such as adiposity, growth and development, and biomarkers, among others.
  • Leslie Lange (Professor, Personalized Medicine, genetic epidemiologist) is analyzing the EPOCH genotype data of over 40 million SNPs in both mothers and offspring to be used for primary exposures (genes of the host), as covariates (controlling for genes) or to assess genomic imprinting (which parent was the origin of the gene).
  • Mireia Gascon (Postdoc, ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain) presented her work on factors important to increase walking in seven European cities. These included walk-friendly social environments, positive values about walking, and established transit (rather than car) habits, among others.
  • Sheena Martenies (Postdoctoral Fellow, Epidemiology, CSU) is working on the ECHO project to develop estimates of early life exposure to ambient and household air pollution. A newly developed pollution monitor measures particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon and has been used in two sampling studies to date in the Denver metro area, with one underway and one planned for winter 2019.
  • Maggie Stanislawski (Research Associate, LEAD) is working on two studies: the genetics of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the EPOCH study, and linking NAFLD to the gut microbiome together with other ‘omics interactions. She has already replicated some of the SNPs found in adult NAFLD and identified an interaction with Hispanic ethnicity.
  • Ivana Yang (Associate Professor, Medicine) oversees the genomics and epigenetics laboratory for LEAD studies. Her main work is studying the sequential steps between the genome, the transcriptome, the metabolome, and the clinical phenotype, as affected by multiple exposures such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, etc. She has also started an ancillary Asthma Epigenetics study in Healthy Start.
  • Traci Bekelman (Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatrics, Nutrition) Traci was awarded an ECHO OIF grant to study the Remote Food Photography Method, a novel technology-based measure of children's dietary intake. Photographs taken before and after a meal are converted into estimates of the type, quantity and nutrient composition of foods consumed.