Environmental, Nutritional, & Genetic Influences on Maternal-Fetal Transfer of Chemicals during Pregnancy: Implications for Transgenerational Susceptibility to Chronic Disease
Adrienne S. Ettinger, ScD, MPH, MS
A special seminar co-sponsored by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, Nutritional Sciences of the University of Toronto and the Southern Ontario Centre of Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR).
Dr. Adrienne Ettinger is a formally-trained epidemiologist with interdisciplinary training in biostatistics, environmental health sciences, and human nutrition. Most recently, she has been affiliated as Assistant Professor of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Global Health with the Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Ettinger conducts research aimed at preventing chronic disease and improving health disparities due to the intergenerational effects of environmental exposures and nutritional deficiencies in vulnerable populations of pregnant women and children. She completed an NIH career development award in molecular epidemiology to investigate using evolutionary theories of ‘gestational conflict’ to understand maternal-fetal interaction at the molecular level. The objective of her work is to understand how factors, such as dietary nutrients, common genetic variants, and epigenetic events, may modify maternal-fetal susceptibility to environmental exposures and, ultimately, impact toxicant-induced pregnancy and child developmental outcomes. This research aims to better understand how chronic disease risks vary within and between populations with respect to the environment, underlying susceptibilities, and developmental lifestage over a wide range of geographic distribution, sociodemographic conditions, and exposure levels. Dr. Ettinger has led multidisciplinary teams working in both rural and urban settings with diverse populations in the U.S. and internationally on prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials in pregnancy, postpartum, and early childhood. This presentation will describe her work on environmental, nutritional, and genetic influences on maternal-fetal transfer of chemicals during pregnancy using lead exposure and calcium metabolism as a model toxicant-nutrient pathway and discuss the implications for studying transgenerational susceptibility to chronic disease.